A few weeks ago I completed my fourth Spartan Race and had the freaking time of my life, so of course, I want to tell you guys all about it!
I didn’t even realize the race was coming back to Miami until about 6 weeks before, but I knew immediately I had to sign up. I got my first taste of Spartan racing back in 2013 at the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge, which was an opportunity to run just a 3 mile segment of a Spartan Race. You can read about it in my original blog, here. After that I ran a handful of “knock off” Spartans until I was ready to run my first full Spartan, the next year.
Because I found out so last minute and prices had already gone up to the max, I decided I was going to run this race for free vs come out of pocket. Yes, you read that right. You can run ANY Spartan Race for free if you sign up (and show up) to a volunteer shift. Of my 4 Spartans, I have raced 3 of them entirely free thanks to the volunteering opportunity. You can sign up for a shift the week before to help build and set up the festival area, or you can volunteer during race weekend. You then get to use your credit at that race or save it for a future race. I love volunteering because 1)obstacle racing gets expensive 2)you feel so much more appreciation for the race when you see the work that goes into setting it up 3)I always burn hella calories and get a nice tan during my volunteer shift 4) 9 times out of 10, the build crew is freaking awesome 5)you meet other local and awesome Spartans.
All of these experiences rang true for my volunteer shift this time around- but especially the meeting other awesome and local Spartans. One of my jobs during volunteering was to set up all the tents in the festival area and I was to do this with a Spartan employee named Henry and another volunteer named Chrissy and man did I luck out. Henry and Chrissy were both super funny and had great attitudes. Not only that, but Chrissy was planning to run the race with a team on Sunday and invited me to join them!
I was super stoked because although I have done a handful of races as part of a team, most of the time I am on my own. It’s kinda sad-ish not to have anyone cheering for you when you finish any race, but when you’re obstacle racing these things sometimes required a push or a hand and if you’re alone, you’re either going to do a ton of burpees (you’re supposed to do 30 for every challenge you dont complete on the first try) or you’re going to have to ask strangers for help. I have done both and honestly, there is always a stranger willing to throw you over a wall or push your ass up, but it’s just nice to know you’re in this with someone who isn’t going to leave you. But even teams often split up according to the pace different members are keeping, and it is still possible to end up on your own.
I wasn’t sure if Chrissy and I would actually stay together the whole race, but i was really excited to have a team to start with and meet at the finish line. And to my surprise- Chrissy was like my racing partner sent from heaven LOL The best part about running with Chrissy was that we kept a similar pace. Sometimes she pushed me to run further, sometimes I made the suggestion, but we were definitely on the same page. When it came to obstacles we were also a good team- we are both strong and could do the majority of them- but there were a few we were able to help each other out with, big time!
There is this zigzag wall you have to use all your grip strength to hold on (like a rock wall with no place for your finger tips) and instead of climbing up, you are stepping sideways for about 20′. My body was not ready for this obstacle and neither was Chrissy’s. But because we have similar strength and weight we were able to support each other all the way across and skip the burpees! Seriously, she held on for dear life and planted her feet on the wall, i got in a slight squat behind her and put my chest right under her butt, and side stepped with her so she couldnt fall. After she completed, she did the same for me! Talk about team work!
I trained for this race the whole 6 weeks, but if you’re prepping for you first Spartan, I would suggest doing their daily workouts for at least double the time first. In the past when I have run and didn’t actually train first, it was very hard and honestly, not as fun. But even with just the 6 weeks this time around, it definitely helped. I only had to skip the monkey bars, rope climb, and spear throw! I’d never gotten over the 7 foot wall or or done the rock wall thingy or hurdles without the help of my partner, but I was still proud that I was able to conquer all of the other obstacles on my own. Many of those obstacles are the same ones I have had to get help with in the past and now I can do them not quite effortlessly, but definitely without much struggle!
We finished the Spartan Sprint (just over 3 miles and 19 obstacles) in an hour and a half and stayed to enjoy the festival area for a bit, afterward. Chrissy mentioned she was planning to go for the Trifecta this year, and since that’s something I have on my own bucket list, I’ve decided to join her! (Trifecta is when you run one of each length Spartan Race in the same calendar year. Sprint 3-5 miles, Super 6-8 miles, Beast 11-13 miles)
Chrissy did her Super in central Florida this past weekend (get it girl!!) and I convinced my sister and some friends to do the Super in western Massachusetts this August. A Beast is coming to the Tampa area in December, and that is when Chrissy and I will finish our Beast together and become official Spartan Trifecta Racers!!! This has been on my bucketlist pretty much since 2013/14 but I had no intentions of getting it done this year, but the timing just feels so right!! AROOOOOOO!!!!
Click HERE to find a Spartan Race near you!!!