First things first, I finished and got my shiny Super Spartan medal to join my Warrior Dash medal and my SUPERHERO Scramble medal. I was more than pleased to finish, so my rank and time were irrelevant. However, I finished 2575 overall with a time of 2 hours 59 minutes 32 seconds.
Second things…second? The event organization was atrocious. Since no one was allowed to park at Oleta State Park where the event was taking place, we had to park at the FIU campus next to the park and either take a bus to the park that had a line of at least 250 people waiting or walk the “half mile or so” to the park as a warm-up. Well, I
walked ran and it was two miles, which was a great warm-up, but it was still two miles of suck. Apparently a bus driver about ran my girlfriend over while barreling down the road. The biggest problem with the bus situation was that they were loading one bus at a time while another one or two sat there and waited with no volunteer or official from the race staff expediting this process. That was all before I even got to the race, which was just as bad. No one had any idea where the lost & found was, including the volunteer table, one of the Miami officers at the front gate, no one at bag check; an intrepid gentleman at the Registration table endured my questions about the L&F table and cordially answered me all three times that I asked him. I needed L&F because I laid my prescription sunglasses down to change shirts and forgot to pick them back up…Then there was the start corral. I and a few other racers missed the start by about one minute thanks to no one at bag check…checking bags (only giving them back out) so when I ran to the start flag, I was directed to the finish area by an event photographer, which was about 10 yards from the actual start corral. Why was the flag misplaced? I have no idea.
Other than that, the race was great. If you register or go to spectate, bring a lot of money, they nickle and dime you for everything.
I came into this race extremely hesitant because I was worried about my overall endurance. I knew the race would be right around nine miles and it was 8.5 miles on the nose, with my Timex Run Trainer clocking 8.3 miles due to a weird mapping error during the first water obstacle. This worried me because in the last year of running, I’ve never gone over 5 miles in a single session, but for this race, I somehow managed to run somewhere between 6 and 7 miles, it must have been the adrenaline because I did’t stop moving unless there was a line at an obstacle. Next, I was worried about my strength endurance because I knew the obstacles were going to be very upper body-centric and they didn’t disappoint at all. There was only one obstacle I didn’t finish and that was the final wall climb, which consisted of a wall designed to mimic rock climbing and we had to climb it horizontally rather than go over it. The biggest problem was that all the grip blocks were caked in mud and I couldn’t get a grip at all; I didn’t see a single person complete this obstacle without cheating (using the top of the wall for grip). I also didn’t fully complete the rope climb as the rope I had chosen somehow was missing its cowbell at the top, so I couldn’t ding it signalling that I’d gotten all the way up, so in an act of honor, I did 15 burpees as well.
The only obstacles I found to be any type of challenge were the wall climb, rope climb, and the monkey bars. I found the latter to be an exceptional test of grip strength because it came immediately after a 30 yard water crossing, so we were all soaking wet and extra heavy, with dripping wet hands. Just about everyone at the obstacle when I got there was pumping out burpees, so I opted for the
manly Spartan option of just doing the obstacle and I nailed it. Almost lost it on the second to last rung though, the bars covered in water and dirt wrecked my grip. But I made it across, that’s what matters. Every other obstacle was either a pull (40ft pulley bucket lift, rock drag, rope climb, 200m C2 row) or a push motion (tire flip) or static (tire carry) and as long as you cold maintain grip, you could complete it. Unfortunately, there was no fire jump, which was kind of a let-down but was better than what we had at the Warrior Dash — basically a starter log on fire.
The entire end of the race is made for failure. Once we got out of the two mile hell of infinite switchbacks in the woods, all of the heavy lifting came into play along with a nearly endless stream of walls to jump over or crawl under. Then we came to the end of the course where the spectators were and that’s where the fun began. Order of obstacle:
So everything after the barbed wire was caked in mud, which increased difficulty by over 9000. Of course, since I know this was designed to be only part of the course where the spectators actually have fun, they had to design everything to be as difficult as possible. I hated that wall and I hope they have one at the Spartan Sprint in GA next week, I’m going to dominate it. This last part of the course is where I think the super part of Super Spartan comes into play. If the whole race was designed like this, I don’t think so many people would finish it just because they’d be physically exhausted. I give the RD a lot of props for making us run on the mountain bike trail that had literally endless switchbacks and hills covered in roots, ripe for twisting ankles.
Overall, I really had fun despite all the problems I had before the thing even started but I showed up and proved to myself that I can run farther if I just go out and do it. I consider this to be my A.2 race as I’m also going to be doing Tough Mudder in December which I know will be much more difficult based on reports from my friends who did it a few months ago and other racers I spoke to at the Spartan. I’m not really sore or anything from the race except I believe that I’ve got a stress bruise under my left ankle, making walking tough but not impossible. It better heal up by next weekend, I’ve got a course to dominate. Expectedly, I’ve already registered for the 2013 Super Spartan in Miami, so let’s hope that I continue training until then. But for now, I’ve got three more races on the docket and a strongman competition to complete.
All of my course data, including map and HRM data, can be found over at TrainingPeaks.