Plenty of beautiful terrain awaited in the Spartan Arizona Sprint and Super courses, which varied from slight inclines and steep, hard declines, to beautiful sandy trenches and prickly bush juking.
October is an exciting and bittersweet time of year in obstacle racing. If you're like me, your season is winding down. The calendar only has a few dates left on it and you're gearing up for championships and the long off-season of winter training.
It is amazing how far I’ve come personally. I started off just doing a Tough Mudder half 2 years ago. This year I have done a race almost every two weeks the past couple of months. I finally got to try my first Spartan at the Spartan Super outside Austin, Texas. There are lots of things to definitely discuss.
Welcome back to the absolutely beautiful Pacific Northwest, where Spartan, once again, held its highly anticipated Seattle-area US National Series. It was an opportunity for OCR’s top athletes to secure their position in the US Championship in West Virginia, while also providing a rematch of sorts for those who were physically, mentally, and spiritually defeated after the mud fest that was the Seattle Super in 2017.
OCR Sandy continues his 2014 OCR journey with another double race weekend. I could tell right away, the day was going to be much sunnier and hotter than the previous day in Ohio at OCR World Championships and I knew hydration would be a key for this race. I opted to wear my CamelBak hydration backpack and carried extra GU gels with me. I started the last wave of the day.
Schlachter, commonly referred to as "the most connected person in the sport of OCR" or "center of the OCR universe" takes on the role of Supreme Editor-in-Chief of Mud Run Guide (mudrunguide.com) on top of her duties as host & producer of Obstacle and Adventure Weekly, co-host on OCR Warrior, founder of Dirt in Your Skirt, subject matter expert & columnist for obstacleracing.About.com, and writer for Mud & Obstacle Magazine.
Spartan started with the obstacles right from the get go on this race. After the initial climb, you had a ridiculously long barbed wire crawl through mud and water. It felt like a quarter mile, but the water felt great with the heat. My arms and knees were torn up after this one. The next obstacle was the monkey bars. I gave them a shot, but I couldn't hold on, since the “bars” were more like pipes, and I have tiny hands. So on to the burpees for me.
Ever since signing up for Wintergreen back around May of this year I have heard little jabs about how tough the course was last year. “Only wish it on your worst enemy,” and things of that nature. No amount of witty banter or raised eyebrows or widened eyes with dropped jaws could have ever prepared or accurately described just how intense this race is. There are those whispers within this community about Spartans being a different breed of OCR and this race turns those whispers into screams.
The use of Trekking Poles has been increasing in the hiking world over the past few years, and is recently becoming more prevalent in Extreme Fitness Racing (Death Races, Catamount Games, etc,), Rucking, and now Obstacle Course Racing. Of course, a “normal” OCR doesn't give much opportunity for Trekking Poles to be of much assistance when you’re mostly running. But in this past weekend’s Virginia Spartan Super held at the Wintergreen Ski Resort, it was recommended that I use a pair to assist in my stability and exertion that would be required with the incredibly steep uphill and downhill grades I’d be facing, and I could expect very little running to actually be possible. Other Obstacle Course Races with hellacious grades to negotiate (like Vermont) might be good opportunities to have Trekking Poles provide assistance.