This was the best weekend ever when it came to fitness!!! I volunteered and participated in the Spartan Sprint Charlotte, NC over the weekend.
What is a SPARTAN?
Technically a SPARTAN is a BAD AZZ!!! I am a BAD AZZ. I am SPARTAN!!! Aroo Aroo Aroo!!!
The Spartan Race is an obstacle course race that has different levels of difficulty. “Spartan’s shortest courses, the Sprint, are 3+ miles and 20+ obstacles. The Super is 8+ miles, 24+ obstacles, and often hosted on a tougher terrain. The hardest of the three races is the Beast: 12+ miles and 30+ obstacles”. If you complete each distance in a calendar year, you will earn a Trifecta. I have been bitten by the bug, so you know I’m going for that Trifecta this year. Aroo. You can learn more about Spartan Races here.
Why an obstacle course race?
Why not? My fitness journey has taken me some places I never thought I’d go: Ragnar DC, Palmetto 200 and countless number of 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons. I’ve been crossing things off my Bucket List left and right. So it was only fitting that I add BAD AZZ to my journey. 😉
I started the weekend out volunteering at the race early that morning. I arrived promptly at 5:45 am to check in and was handed a T-shirt, sandwich (glad I had my oatmeal), water and an orange. I started off at the fire pit and very thankful for that position since the temperature was in the 30’s and the wind was being disrespectful.
Oh well that didn’t last long 😦 . I ended up working the finish line clipping off the timing chips of each runner. The best thing about being at the finish was sharing that moment with two of my teammates from Spartan Newbies (Catie and Melody).
I also ran into two of my Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB) Columbia members, Nancy and Nicole (not pictured). Both were volunteering and running the race later that afternoon.
I really enjoyed seeing the Spartans run across that finish line. Most had smiles on their faces and others I thought were surely going to die. Spartans running in with serious battle wounds (skinned knees and elbows). Even saw a couple of folks crash and burnout right at the fire pit. OMG!!! All I was thinking was, WHAT AM I GETTING MYSELF INTO!?! It might not have been a good idea to work that spot, especially with me being new to obstacle course races. Oh well I had to SpartanUp right? Right! I GOT this!!
My shift ended at 1:30 PM but I stuck around to see if I could catch a couple of ladies I met during the rope climbing session at Stax. After about an hour no dice, so I headed to the hotel.
Why a Spartan Race?
I wanted to really be a BAD AZZ ;-).
Truth be told, I love a challenge and figured this race would test me and push me out my comfort zone. If you really know me, I don’t do outside to well. I hate bugs, dirt, mud, wild animals, and getting dirty.
So with that, I knew the Spartan was going to be tough, shit, it’s outdoors, running through the forest, up and down mountains, jumping over streams, crawling on the ground, and fighting through mud pits. Tough was an understatement, but I was well prepared physically… It was my mental that needed the boost.
I was lucky to have joined an awesome team, Spartan Newbies, especially after the person that pumped me up to run with their team didn’t even form one (Ricky 🙂 ). So I was hyped and SY’ched to stumble upon the OCR Newbies on Facebook.
Our fearless leader, Audra, put the team together and held it up, down and all around. Being a veteran of the Spartan races, she made sure the team was equipped with team shirts, plenty of information and mounds of motivation.
She even set up a rope climbing training session for us at her crossfit box.
I was really thankful for this session because I was scared that I couldn’t do the rope climb. I got over my fear that day and made it to the top a few times. WINNING
If you are new to the Spartan world, I invite you to join us at OCR Newbies on Facebook. We are currently on the road to earning that Trifecta!!!
Sunday: Race Day
The Spartan Sprint was held on Potter’s Farm in Concord, North Carolina and was described as a 3+ mile obstacle course with 15+ obstacles.
Before the start of the race, our team, Spartan Newbies, gathered for a team pic and was recognized by Spartan as the Biggest Team 2016.
We were set to start at 10:00 am. In order to get to the start line we were faced with our very first obstacle; climbing over a 4 foot wall. We received the Spartan speech which ended with “Look at the Spartan to your left. Now look at the Spartan to your right, you will draw strength from them and they from you. They will not let you fail”… That speech really set the tone for the race.
“Who are you? I AM A SPARTAN!!”
Then we were off….
With a team of 41, it was difficult to stick together all as one (especially with adrenaline pumping). My feet just wanted to run. So the team broke up into sub groups and helped each other along the way. It was ten of us that started out together but we ended up finishing with nine (that Ojays left us in the wind lol). I really stand behind ‘Teamwork make the Dreamwork’. We were a untied front and had each other’s back the whole way through.
Highlights from the race
The first few obstacles were a piece of cake, over hurdles and then up and under. Climbing to the top of this and then back down (was a lil nervous but no sweat, I did that, WE did that).
I failed miserably at the Multi-rig but I gave it my all before burping out. I just couldn’t get to that second set of rings (picture me hanging; below). The volunteers said that this was a no assistance obstacle so I was at it alone. After looking back I noticed a lot of people were sure helping each other out. Oh well, I came and I conquered, even if it was a FAIL. STRIKE ONE
On to the next one.
I can’t throw a spear to save me. I received some advice from a friend to just head right for the burpee station…I at least had to try. FAIL. 🙂 STRIKE TWO
There was also the Bucket Brigade where women were asked to fill a bucket, up to the holes (weighing about 70 pounds), with rocks, carry it down a long azz hill, and then back up that long azz hill. Ok no problem, I got this!!!
When I tell you I had the best team, I really mean that. All-4-one was having a hard time with his bucket (weighing more than 100 lbs), so his mom and I went in to help him get it done. #teamWorkmakestheDreamWork
The barbwire crawl felt like it was nearly 200 meters. When in Rome… I saw folks dropping and rolling, so I did the same. It was much faster than crawling. I got dizzy and had to stop a couple of times because I just knew I was going to toss my salad. After rolling for what seemed like hours, I became quite dizzy, so I slowed down and took my time by rolling, stopping, catching my breath, crawling and then repeat.
The rolling mud pits smelled pretty bad. I was not looking forward to immerging myself into the likes of shit. I slid several times and almost ended up at the bottom of the pit. Trying to get out of the pit was the pits. Thankful my girl, Avis, was there to pull me out. There was a total of four mud pits, each getting deeper as you moved forward. The last one we were forced to go completely under the muddy water in order to get out, by going under a wall. All I kept saying to myself was ‘please let me walk away without a staph infection’.
I was really looking forward to the rope climb, a skill that I perfected in one day at Stax. Okay maybe not perfected but I did get up that rope a few times that day. So again, I was really looking forward to the rope climb. However, when a rope is soaking wet and covered with mud, it is almost impossible to get a foot grip. I almost cried because again, I was really looking forward to the dayum rope climb. Oh well. FAIL. STRIKE THREE.
#Wonderwoman and I brought it home with the fire jump. We finished strong!!! We are Spartans!!! Aroo Aroo Aroo
This was my best race ever, hands down. I was very nervous about this race from the start and the weather sure wasn’t helping me make my mind up to actually participate. Good thing I’m not a quitter. I tend to finish what I begin and there was no way I was letting my team down. Thankfully the sun came out and warmed things up quite nicely, perfect weather for running. I don’t think I have anything negative to say about this race. It was well organized, the course was questionable LOL meaning how do they come up with these dayum courses. We were literally running through the forest and jumping over streams and CLIMBING mountains LOL. OMG, it was sooooo much fun!!!!
The best part of this experience was being apart of Spartan Newbies. I have made friends for life and am really looking forward to continuing on the road to earning that Trifecta together. Audra, fearless team leader, was there every step of the way guiding us through this process. We were lucky to have her as our team leader.
I was glad to see some of my Black Girls Run! (BGR!) sistahs on the team. Awesome to see that we are not only hitting the pavement but also putting in work on obstacle courses.
A couple quick points of advice:
Groupon often offers great deals on Spartan Races but they are only for the afternoon heat. They are strict about your start times and they will check. So if you want to be sure you start before noon, join a rockstar group with an awesome team captain, Aroo Audra!!!
Wear sneakers with grips – no minimalist shoes. This is a trail run; you are literally hiking through the mountains.
Have you ran a Spartan Race before? How was it? If not, have you ran an obstacle course race before? How was that?
Would you run a Spartan Race and/or other obstacle course race?
If interested in running, look for us on Facebook: OCR Newbies.
Before the race….I wasn’t feeling it.
click here for video.
After the race…..YASSSS HUNTY!!!