Ah Colorado. This was the 3rd year that spartan has done the military sprint at Fort Carson Army base. For those of you who would like a challenge with the spartan sprints, seriously look at this race. The obstacles are dense. In 4.5 miles we completed 25 obstacles. Sometimes back to back, and at the finish there are spear, Hercules hoist, dunk wall mud climb,slippery wall, horizontal cargo net bridge, fire jump and gauntlet.
The weather this year on Saturday was outstanding, blue skies and no wind, just absolutely perfect. In comparison to last years Sunday race where we experienced a 50% DNF due to 40 degrees, wind and rain. This Sunday was overcast but the afternoon heats experienced wind gusts that you could not see your hand in front of your face. Only in Colorado, where you will see all four seasons in one day.
This year was an interesting one as we volunteered 2 days for Spartan. We opted for course build the Sunday before and registration Sunday afternoon race day. In retrospect, both bad choices for us. In choosing the course build I thought this would be a great opportunity to see how things work, how spartan put this event together. While we did get information, I think it succeeded in giving us major anxiety about the course. In the future, I do not want to know. It kept me up at nights. I had to stay at the base camp because I was running elite, Chris was able to go out on the course. I saw the new spears that are all the same now, a little bit heaver I thought. I saw how they make the atlas stone with the moods for men and women. The interesting thing was we had to inventory all the ropes, and spartan uses different lengths, different diameter. So chose wisely. That is what I took away from this course this year. I can chose which, stone to pick up, which rucksack to carry ( the womens' weighed between 35 and 60 pounds), which tire to drag or flip, which concrete block to pull. There are differences in them. I always walk up to the obstacles, and take a moment to decide which way I will go. I think it helps, it certainly helped me.
The only obstacle I did not have experience with was the cargo net monkey bars. This was about 1/2 way in the course and they were back to back. I had decided beforehand that I would burpee out of the rope climb because I knew I would not be able to sustain those difficult upper body obstacles back to back. That is what happened in Arizona, we had the hoist which was the heaviest I have ever encountered and then immediately the rope climb. The hoist was difficult then add a 57 year old women and have her rope climb, we'll it proved to be too much and I fell just an arms length from the bell. It was exhausting and then to do burpees, yikes, Noodle arms.
There is where strategy came into play. I wanted to attempt the monkey bars. As soon as I started I knew it would not play out, I decided then and there to burpee out. I think that actually helped me as all the rest of the obstacles are ones that do not bother me. I enjoy the mud crawl, barbed wire and I was able to get through that rather quickly. Running first is the best for me and while no means am I an elite runner, I do consider myself an athlete and at 57, I like running first, it is not so hot and it is not so crowded, with age comes wisdom.
I missed two more obstacle and they were not on purpose. I can do the traverse wall and it aggravated me that I accidentally touched the top of the wall, aargh. And my next failure was that spear. I have no excuse for this, I have one, I practice it. I can do it at home but come race day I have more misses than hits in this obstacle.
I love the finishes at Spartan, I love doing 6/7 obstacles right in a row. It is exciting. The gauntlet for us, was heavy bags suspended over water. There was someone a second ahead of me and I saw her plummet into the water and I opted for a different way in and swam to the other side. I caught her at the crawl out and she crossed the line .02 ahead of me. Sometime all I takes is just a moment to decide which way to go. That is my best advise, take a moment, and literately we make decisions every single moment, of every single day.
We have a great support team with Colorado Obstacle Racers. We train together, we share information, we share stories, we share ourselves. Last time I checked about 15 of us qualified for OCR World Championships with this Spartan race. After racing on Saturday, one of our team members, opened his home to a barbecue. We are a family. The biggest loser people were there too and we met Tara Costa and two other contestants and were inspired by there stories.
Many of us raced again on Sunday. Chris and I did a afternoon volunteer shift. Chris did the showers and I did registration. The wind was horrible on Sunday afternoon with bursts so intense you could not see your hand in front of your face. Chris said he washed off lots of Reebok All Terrains, consensus? They were well received and worked well at this race. Sunday afternoon we cheered on the last people on the course. Then it was take down time. Unbelievable what goes into making all this work. I saw the beginning(course build ) the middle (the race ) and the end (tear down) of a great sport.
Three years ago, Colorado Military Sprint solidified for me, my love for this sport. She has yet to fail me.
Spartan once again brought a great course, 5 out of 5
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