Tuesday, July 16, 2013

PA Spartan Race - 2013

Three years ago this past weekend, Gretchen and I ran our very first Spartan Race here at Blue Mountain. This is the race that was our gateway drug into the world of OCR - and it's been all downhill from there...That 2011 race here was when Gretchen took 1st place and came home with the coveted spartan sword (which I've used for my Spartan Halloween costume for the past couple of years - and of course in the Bad Boys of OCR 2012 Calendar). Last year's 2012 race here was hyped as the Elite women's showdown with Spartan Race bringing in heavy hitters from all over the country.

The 2013 race was just as hard as I expected it to be, but the course was a bit shorter. Last year the course was longer than the previous year, and I expected Spartan Race to either keep it the same or make it longer. It was surprising and actually a bit refreshing to run a Spartan Sprint that was under 4 miles in length. Gretchen and I ran on Saturday in the Elite category - The 3.4 mile course was incredibly challenging for the first 2 miles. The course pretty much went straight up the 1500' mountain - throwing in a 40lb sandbag carry at the absolute steepest portion. The obstacles were as expected but I was bummed to miss the spear throw at the top of the mountain and forced to do 30 burpees. This seems to be a theme with me - I was neck and neck with my VPX teammate, Jason Henline - I missed it and he made it - he beat me by a few minutes. The most difficult obstacle in my opinion was the mountain itself - slippery and muddy from downpours the day before and steep as ever. It's a lot more fun to snowboard down than to run up, but it's a lot more satisfying to cross that finish line.
I was pleased with my finish time of just over 1 hour - Gretchen finished in 4th place missing 3rd by just 1 second but finishing 1st for her age. I am extremely proud of her but she was very disappointed since she made a wrong turn after the swimming portion which cost her a couple of minutes. We had fun hanging with our Spartan family and VPX Team Xtreme teammates in the festival area and got some great photos:
I even tried the pull up competition getting 30 strict pull ups in 1 minute - my fellow VPX teammate and Mud & Adventure founder, Paul Buijs, did 39 or 40 right behind me - although there is a bit of controversy as kipping is not allowed. His judge, Kevin LaPlatley aka - The MudMan let the kipping slide :)

I came back on Sunday to give the race another try and finished 1 minute faster than I did on Saturday giving me a 28th place finish and 2nd for age - not too bad! The mountain felt a lot harder going up on day 2, but knowing the course gave me an advantage as I knew what to expect and when to turn the dial up. I missed the spear throw both days - ugh. I'm gonna have to keep practicing. We had a great weekend overall and I'm looking forward to the rest of racing season!