My wife and I ran in the Spartan Race, as some of you know. When we signed up for Warrior Dash last year, we were in much better shape. School and work did not afford us the time needed to properly train for the Spartan Race, but we decided to challenge ourselves and run it anyway. It inspired us to try harder to FIND the time for our fitness goals. I challenge you to do the same.
The race started with a 5ft wall and then a nice little run before any obstacles. I guess this gives the more intense racers a chance to get ahead of the rest of us. The rest of the obstacles are kind of a blur due to the mud, sweat, and tears in my eyes. However there is a list of what I do remember overcoming. (in no real order)
Barbed wire crawl: a crawl through mud under barbed wire. Participants must stay low to the ground as to not get injured by the wire. Crawls range from 20-100+ yards in length. The wire crawl has appeared in every Spartan Race to date. Our length was about 40 yards, if I had to guess (which I do).This was not as challenging to me as it seemed to be to some of the other racers.
Over-Under-Through: a series of obstacles in which runners must first climb over a wall, then under a wall, then through a tire or square hole placed in a wall. This obstacle is often repeated three or more times in a row and appears in almost every Spartan Race.This was not really an obstacle at all. We handled it easily without losing much pace. I think it was put there simply to break the monotony of mud, and I was thankful for the respite.
Spear throw: from a distance of 10-20 yards, athletes must throw a wooden spear into a target. If the spear does not stick, a penalty of 30 burpees is assigned. The spear throw is present at every Spartan Race with the exception of state parks that do not allow weapons. Typically, the spear throw is near the end of the race. First of all, Burpees suck BAD, especially at the end of a taxing race. Make sure you sink the spear throw or you will burn yourself out on the big bad burpees. My manliness (don’t laugh) did not like the fact that my spear did not stick and my muscles followed suit. In my defense, it was more like throwing a floundering gig than an actual spear but still…
Wall climb: as the name suggests, runners must climb over a wooden wall. Walls range from 4-8 feet and are often in sequence. This obstacle may be repeated throughout the course. There again, not really much to write about. It is a wall and you have to climb over it.
Object carry: A signature obstacle, the object carry is often the most challenging. In a Spartan Sprint, this obstacle typically appears once. In a Super Spartan, twice; in a Beast, three times or more. The object to be carried may be a tire, rock-filled bucket, or sandbag. Both the bucket and sandbag weight between 30 and 70 pounds. Men must carry heavier objects than women. We had to carry a sandbag which weighed about 30 lbs and we also had to carry a concrete wad that weighed about 70 lbs. The sandbag was not really a challenge, even though we had to carry it much farther than the heavier weight. The heavy concrete mass was awkward to grab and this was compounded by the massive amounts of mud caked all over our hands. This slowed us down a bit, but we powered through it.
Herculean Hoist: athletes must hoist a cement block or heavy bucket off the ground using a pulley system. This obstacle is similar to the “lat-pull” exercise machine, but is more difficult because the rope is often muddy and slippery. This obstacle seemed to be a challenge for some of the other racers, but I was able to get it quickly and without exhausting too much energy. I guess working in an asphalt plant has its advantages.
Traversal Wall: the traversal wall is similar to a bouldering wall. This obstacle was ridiculously unfair. All of the footholds and handholds were covered in mud. I imagine the first racers had a nice clean path, but by the time we ran it was crazy slick. Needless to say, we had burpees to do. My stamina wept.
Slippery Wall: a wall built at an incline (roughly 45 degrees) that is covered in soap or grease. Runners may try to sprint up the wall or use a rope for assistance. We had the luxury of a rope, so this was not very challenging.
Rope Climb: A rope is hung over a body of water/mud with a bell installed at the very top. Participants must “ring the bell” before climbing down. My wife had the great idea of holding the bottom of rope still while I climbed and this helped me ascend quickly and ring the bell. I will say, though, that a muddy rope will still burn your hands.
Fire jump: participants leap over flames. This obstacle is typically at the beginning or end of a race. The fire jump has appeared in nearly every Spartan Race, though certain venues do not allow fire. We had fire, but it was not very intense. Not that I expected an inferno or anything, but it was easy to jump over. This was right toward the end of the race and the finish line was in sight, so that probably inspired me to greater heights.
Gladiator Arena: before the finish line, athletes must pass through the “gladiators” who try to knock down runners using their pugil sticks. These guys were tired of hitting little pieces of crap like me, so they barely even tried… until I tried to put a spin move on them (summoned my inner AP). Then the guy got mad, or his steroids got angry for my attempted dodge and he swung at the back of my head. Glancing blow.
We had a really good time, and I highly suggest that you give it a shot. We were proud to finish, and most importantly we decided that we wanted to start back up on our running.
PS: get a fitbit, this little device has immediately become an integral part of my day to day. I will post a more detailed review at a later date.