Seriously, Super Spartan was no joke. Not for the weak. It's anything but a "fun run"....but it was still SO much fun.
I regret to inform you that Hope and I didn't get our waterproof camera to take pictures on the course. We had every intention to, but we had no idea where we were driving to and "stopping on the way" didn't happen. When we arrived to the race course in Winnsboro SC, we asked the parking attendant if there was anywhere nearby we could buy a camera. CVS, grocery store, gas station? He informed us that we were basically in the middle of nowhere. We could drive back on the interstate for a while to the next rest stop, but no promises.
Hopefully, I will have more pictures to add to this post over time, but for now, I have , uhh, "borrowed" posted pictures from others via the facebook spartan page (click here to see the official photo album with the official race day pics). Sharing is caring right? Further, I bow down to some guy named Jason Miller from facebook, who ran with a video camera. Jason: you get two muddy thumbs up for this epic video. It's 26 minutes long, but if you really want to know what a Super Spartan looks like (some of it skipped of course) it's worth the watch. And earmuff the kids or turn the speakers down if you are in the office...there's a few f-bombs dropped in the soundtrack. But it is SO worth the time to watch!
But now for my experience.
I spent the 3ish hour drive to Winnsboro trying not to get car sick from Sharpie fumes while making our awesome "You've been chicked" shirts. The guy to girl ratio at Spartan race was like, 10/1. Ok I made that number up, but I'm guessing it's pretty close. Proof positive was the long line outside the MEN'S bathroom door, where as Hope and I walked right into the ladies room. When have you EVER seen that happen? Therefore, the shirts were necessary. And further, mega kudos to all of the guys we DID chick for their awesome attitudes, more than one told us they loved our shirts (as we chicked them, muahaha)
|Hope modeling the "oh snap, a girl just passed me" shirt|
|pic credit: Spartan Race facebook page|
We rounded a corner and there was the first mud/water/pit. I mean, it was water, but it was clay colored, and you certainly couldn't see even 2 millimeters into it. But you did have to dive into it, as there was a line of barrels that you had to swim UNDER. Time to get muddy. Under I went. Jumped out on the other side and prepared myself for 8 miles of squishy sneakers.
|pic credit: Spartan Race facebook page|
Now, I knew the Super Spartan was 8-ish miles of running. And I figured it would be a bit of trails. I didn't realize however, that i would be 97% trail. And by trail, I mean mostly technical trail. Heck, some of it wasn't even "trail" so much as "follow these flags through the forest". Downed tree in your path? Go over it. Trail just stops and drops 6 feet down into a ravine? Figure it out.
We ran about a mile through the "trails" until we came across the first set of walls. This first set was maybe, oh, 5 foot? I didn't have any trouble getting over them so they couldn't have been too high. Cleared the first wall, looked at the second and said "how the heck am I supposed to clear that?" as there was snarling barbed wire wrapped around the top. The kind volunteer pointed to the maybe 16 inch gap UNDER the wall and said "go under". Oh yeah, haha. Under I went. Third wall: tires embedded about 4 feet up. You had to go through them. I figured the feet first approach would work best, and so in I went. Then, repeat. Three more walls in the same order. Over, under, through.
Once those were over, back into the forest we went. I was reminded of how much I LOVE trail running. We were in the very last (i.e. non competitive) wave, and the pack thinned out very soon on. I'd say we were somewhere towards the back of the middle of that pack. We passed a bunch of people at the very beginning, and other than 2 guys that we pretty much played back-and-forth with for the entire course, we were alone out there. I liked it.
More trail running, and then we came out of the woods to a water stop and a giant cargo net climb. This one was easily twice as tall as the warrior dash, I'd say about 20 feet? I had no idea I was un-easy about heights until I was at the top. Hope crawled up and over that thing like a darn spider monkey, but I timidly and carefully made my way up and over, until my feet were back on solid ground. Whew.
Back into the forest. More trail running
Next obstacle: logs.
|photo credit: Spartan Race facebook page|
Burpees done, and back into the woods we went.
You'll have to forgive me, because the middle is a bit of a blur. There was a lot of trail AND river running. Like, the trail ended and we just ran up a river bed. At one point, we turned and went up this disgusting smelling ravine that was just wide enough for a single file line and about waist deep. I felt like we were in a jungle and asked if there were gators this far inland. Hope lovingly named this portion "Nam" and wondered where her machine gun was. Other obstacles in this middle section included monkey bars (I fell, 30 burpees). Lifting a cinder block on a rope up about 20 feet off the ground. Carrying a tire a good half a mile down a big hill (trail of course, complete with downed trees to navigate over) and then back up again.
The half way point was a barbed wire crawl. Now lets remember warrior dash, the barbed wire was a good, oh 2 or 3 feet off of the ground, in a mud pit. You could easily crawl on your hands and knees. Not the Spartan race my friends. This was straight dry dirt, sticks, and rocks, with the barbed wire, MAYBE a foot and a half off the ground, some places probably less. You were on your stomach, head down, or you got cut. The first ten yards I tried the frog crawl. You know, one arm and knee slides forward, followed by the next. It hurt. There was a slight break in the barbed wire where I was able to flip on to my back, and I did a reverse sideways snake slither for the next 15 yards. I swear I was under that barbed wire for what felt like HOURS. It was at this point that I realized how much of this race was mental. While halfway under the barbed wire, just inches from my nose, I realized, there is NO WAY out of here, other than to go back the way I came or go to the end. Like, no "OK I've had enough, let me me out now" exit. You HAVE no choice but to move forward. Towards the end, the dry dirt turned into try mud, and it was an awesome relief. I literally jumped for joy when I finally rolled out from under that chaos.
|photo credit: Spartan Race facebook page. |
Next might have been another big mud pit with a rock/mud wall with a rope, a good 10 feet to climb up. THANK GOODNESS for the guy who went right a head of me...that rope was so slippery I could hardly hold on, so he gave me his arm and pulled me out of the pit.
|photo credit: Spartan Race facebook page|
More trail running, then we rounded a corner to a pond. The lifeguard in the boat said go ahead and "dive" in. I should have taken dive to know it was deep, but I didn't expect to step off of the bank and just drop! It was deep. 50 yard open water swim. My sneakers felt like bricks. So I took this opportunity to cool down and rest with a bit of a back stroke. The water was nice and cool, it felt AWESOME. We got out at the other side, only to run the corner, and have to cross the pond AGAIN. This time, by way of rope. Hanging. It took me a few feet to get the hang of using my feet in the water to propel my body forward and sort of "jump" with my arms. But maybe 10 feet from the other side, my arms literally gave out, and I plummeted into the water. The Spartan volunteers again told me "close enough" and I was spared from more burpees. Sweet!
Run back up a hill, where we were instructed to grab a 40 lb sand bag, and run back down another hill with it. Now, I have two toddlers, both pushing close to 40 lbs, but this little 40 lb sandbag felt twice as heavy as my rugrats, haha. Got to the bottom of the hill, was instructed to drop the bag, and climb up to the top of this cliff over a big water (again, mud water) and jump in. I can't remember the last time I jumped about from more than a few feet into water, but standing at the top of the cliff I thought...ooohhhkaaay just GO! It was a stomach dropper that's for sure! I felt like it was 30 feet up. Pictures show otherwise, hahaha.
|This dude deserves a special type of award, lol. Photo credit: Spartan race facebook page|
Got out of the pit where I was instructed to pick up my 40 lb sand baby (ha) and carry it BACK up the hill. Dropped it off, then back into the woods and up a trail we go.
At the top of that hill, we met 6 dirt mountains and 6 mud pits. At least, I think there were 6 . By this point in the race, my glycogen stores had TANKED and I was ready to be done. My brain was a little fuzzy. Also, at this point in the race, being the last wave, the backside of each mud hill was so slick, we had to kind of scale the sides just to get any footing at all. It was rough.
Next: Two big walls. Thank you random guy for the boost. I would have never made it over on my own, and no way in heck was I going around. Spartans don't cheat (unless of course, the Spartan race volunteers give you the aforementioned 10 burpee discount. That was official.)
Another leap over the fire pit (which , I won't lie, by this point was just smoldering, but it didn't hurt my feelings), down the hill we started on, to the least-seemingly difficult but actually really hard obstacle on the course: A spear throw. No lie. There was a pile of spears, and three big targets: haystacks with spartan heads on the top. The goal was simple: Throw the spear, get it to stick in the hay bale, and you are good to go. Spear doesn't stick? 30 burpees.
Needless to say, I had 30 more burpees to do.
Up over another wooden wall with a rope to help you over, and a mud puddle on the other side. Round the corner and there it was: the finish line. 2:33:xx was our finishing time. Yes, 2.5 hours to run 8 miles. See? It's no "fun run". The female winner came in at about 1:36. Next time, we plan to put a little more pep in our step and RACE, but today, we just had FUN! As you can see in our faces in this picture...
|bring it Gladiators!|
|Don't they look thrilled? (and aren't I clean?!)|
Alas, we finished, we survived, no one got hurt (other than this gnarly infected blister I currently have, ugggh). Showered (outdoors, of course), changed, left our mark on the Wall of Valor
|Yes I was|
and made the long trek home, which included an almost DESPERATE search for a Taco Bell. A Spartan's gotta eat :)
So there you have it, Super Spartan Race recap. Would I do it again? That's a big fat HECK YEAH. In fact, Hope, who is clearly just as crazy as I, tried to put the idea in my head that we should travel up to Vermont in August for the Spartan Beast (12+ miles). If I happen to win the lottery between now and next month, you can bet your spear and shield we WILL be there. But until next time...AROO AROO AROO!!!
|The Spartan Loot|