Alright alright alright *in my best Kevin Hart voice* remember when I said that the Spartan Sprint was the best weekend ever when it came to fitness (you can read all about it here). Well that still rings true 🙂 LOL. Running the Spartan Beast, was probably the toughest race I’ve ever participated in; it truly was a BEAST.
What is the Spartan Beast?
The Spartan Beast is a race comprised of 12+ miles with 30+ obstacles and stands as a testament to how much you really want to accomplish something hard. The Beast is no easy task and it will test your physical and mental endurance. And what a test it was.
But did I die? Shyyydddd, I felt like I did… 😁
I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, just not hella nervous (until I was sitting waiting for the start LOL). Check out my video, as I’m heading to meet my team.
Oh well, I was there and knew I had to do what I came to do….. Be a BEAST!!!
The weather really worked out in our favor, if you remember from the Spartan Sprint, we started out in 27 degree weather (shyyydddd, I didn’t even want to get out of the car; #flashback). At the start of the Beast, some of my fellow Spartans said that we were lucky this year, because last year’s BEAST weather sucked. You already know I was very thankful for that. I mean don’t get me wrong, I run in the cold, I’d just rather not waddle in mud and trek through water in the cold. You feel me?
This race marked the longest of the three race series that I had ran, it was a total of 14+ miles and 30+ obstacles. Looking back to the start of my Spartan journey, I was lucky to come across a team that were also new to obstacle course racing. I joined the Spartan Newbies at the beginning of 2016 and was well on my way of becoming a SPARTAN, AROO, AROO, AROO.
No better way to finish my last race than to cross the finish line with the crew that helped me get there. Keenya and her twin boys (Kobe and Keyshawn) were there every step of the way for all three of the Spartan races. We did this together!!!
Word via those interwebs alluded me to the fact that one of my homies from way back was also running the Beast. You know I had to link up with him. We were stationed with each other at Ft. Meade, Maryland back in the late ninety’s (dayum, I’m aging us huh, lol). Anyhoo, it was cool seeing him at the start of the race. He started waayyyy before we did so I didn’t get a chance to run with him and his crew.
I also ran into my fellow team member of Red, White and Blue (RWB) from Columbia, SC, Nicole (she’s always getting her Spartan on!!!).
Soooooo, about that BEAST?!?
This Beast was a BEAST. There was a WHOLE lot of running (yes I’m LOL at WHOLE). Well duh, isn’t this a race. True dat but it’s also an obstacle course, so I was a bit surprised with all the obstacles spread out the way that they were. I mean, we would run a LOT and then hit a few obstacles (about four) in the beginning. Then run a LOT more before seeing another obstacle. Compared to the Spartan Super, we ran a little and then we climbed up, jumped over and/or crawled through shit (literally). Don’t get me wrong, the Beast had plenty of stuff for us to climb up, jump over and crawl through, they were just REALLY spread out (I’m sure you get my point by now, lol).
I tell you what tho’, this race had me all in my feelings, especially around mile 9. Everything in me was giving out…I was like what the hello, I AM a trained athlete (yep, shole is!!!), I do this in my sleep. Well, I don’t know what was going on with my body, but she was not having it. My legs and feet started cramping up really bad. When we finally made it to an obstacle, I just knew I wasn’t getting to the other side. Lifting my leg up made the cramping that much worse. LAWD!!!! Somehow, I manged to dig deep and shake it out and made my way but man it was rough. I wish I had pictures but for some reason the Spartan photographers were no where to be found (well I didn’t see them…turns out they caught me tho’, doing the sandbag carry (below) without my giving them my signature smile LOL). My plan for this race was to carry my phone or a camera but I didn’t want to chance it getting wet (which surprise, surprise, there was not a drop of water on this course for us to trek through 😦 ). And since I’m retired NOW (yes, you will hear this again throughout this post), there is no need for me to purchase a GoPro to follow me through the woods, right? Right.
I’m not sure at what point this obstacle fell in the race but the only way out of the woods was UP.
I’m really not sure how I finished this race, I had nothing in me. The last couple of obstacles I FAILED. I attempted to do burpees but shyyydddd, again, I had nothing in me. If it wasn’t for my running partner, Keenya, I’m not sure I would have finished. Okay, I joke halfheartedly because I would have crossed that finish line even if I had to crawl through the fire.
Speaking of fire. As we approached the final obstacle (pictured above), I felt an amazing since of accomplishment come over me. Yes, this course broke me ALL the way down (you know I have never cramped during a race before, what the hello). I was hurting (old bones) but seeing that fire and feeling the energy from the crowd, hyped me up. Even with the pain, and not being able to feel my face or my feet, I was still proud of myself. A part of me wanted a do over, because as I stated before, this Beast broke me ALL the way down. I even contemplated doing another trifecta all over again. But the old lady in me said, ‘you did a great job Coach SY, now have SEVERAL seats’. I am RETIRED NOW!!!!!
My Spartan journey has been a helluva experience. I have met some wonderful people since joining the Spartan Newbies, ran by our fearless leader Audra!!! I finished my Trifecta with the very members I ran with at the start of this journey (Keenya, Keyshawn and Kobe). I created memories with other Spartans that understand this lifestyle (even though I’m RETIRED) and becoming long lasting buddies (Keenya, Audra, Avis, Dee, April, Tom, Joe). I also ran into my homie Rich (who is trying to get me to come out of retirement for 2017….nahhhhh ‘we’ (mind, body and spirit) good!!!
With the completion of this race, I’m proud to say that I achieved my goal of getting the “Spartan Trifecta.” I officially earned all three pieces to the “Trifecta” puzzle by completing the Spartan Sprint (3+ miles), the Super (8+ miles) and the Beast (12+ miles) in 2016.
So that’s that. All the training and runs this year paid off. I know they say “never say never,” but at this point I think I’ve proven to myself that I can crawl through mud and conquer crazy obstacles and run way farther than I ever thought my body could handle, so I’m pretty confident when I say I’ll be retiring my obstacle course racing career.
So, what’s up next? Hmmmm maybe I’ll do a triathlon…
Pics from the Beast: