The Spartan Super in Monterey was super fun, super tough, and super special. How could it not be? Taking on this course with both BoBo, YaYa, and a whole lot of other cool people was such a fantastic experience. BoBo stayed by my side for the first 3 miles. YaYa and his friend Nicco waited for us (me and Nicco’s mom) at each obstacle before moving on.
Having had researched the tutorials for the obstacles listed on the course map which I was unfamiliar with ahead of time helped me out tremendously. This was especially true for the Bender since I could barely reach the bottom rung. There were other obstacles (such as the walls and hurdles) that, no matter how much research I’d done, I simply didn’t have the strength and agility yet to master without help. But I did what I could on my own and asked for help at the points where I needed it. Sometimes, just having a spotter there just in case was all the help I needed.
Other times, I needed a huge boost to get my hands to a place where I could take over the effort. Of course on obstacles, like Stairway to Sparta, getting up the first portion isn’t the worrisome part. As you climb to the top of the obstacle, the world is seen from such a different perspective. You face your fear of heights while taking in the amazing scenery from the landscape below as well as the community of racers who are taking on the course with you.
It’s a truly amazing sight to behold. The people you meet along the way are some of the coolest people you’ll meet. Everyone is willing to offer a hand to a stranger when needed. And if you need help, all you have do is ask for it. We are Spartan — and this is how we roll.
Personally, my goal was just to finish the race and complete as many obstacles as I could. I paced myself, careful not to go out too strong and risk bonking, especially because I’d never raced being fat-fueled (instead of fueled on carbohydrates). I surprised even myself at places. The strength and confidence I felt on the rope was priceless. This was the one place where the boys looked to me for guidance on the foothold technique. We ALL rang the bell successfully!
By mile 3, the gang was itching to keep moving and I felt more at ease not worrying about how long they were waiting for me. We regrouped with Robby (theMAN’s son) around mile 4 where we took in the view from the top of world. Of course, I knew we’d return to the top of the world a bit later, but not without going down first.
I was solo for a good portion of the second half of the course. We descended and then ascended to an even higher place. Here was where the hurdles got the best of me when I nearly hoisted myself to the top before rotating to the bottom of the hurdle again. My right inner knee and back of my thigh have the bruises to remind me of my need to further build upon this skill.
Fortunately, it was all downhill from here. Oh yeah, except for the steep but short hill just as you return to the festival area for the last half dozen obstacles. Much to my surprise, BoBo, YaYa, Nicco and Robby were all waiting to take on the mud pits and dunk with me. They’d been waiting for a while already and we waited for about 30 minutes more before we moved on without Nicco and his momma (who was battling some awful cramps). The four of us emerged from the dunk wall together and continued to the finish together.
There were successes and there was failure as well. But I took on each obstacle as best as I could. Even when I failed, I noted the improvement that others might not note. For instance, I was able to grasp a second item on the more complex multi-rig before falling off. I wished I hadn’t taken of my gloves as my hands felt the ripping as I lost hold of the little rope. I’ll know better…NEXT TIME!
As for my ketogenic (fat-fueled) performance: I wish I would have listened to Lil Sis’ reminder of the difference in exercising during a fasted state vs. fed. I’ve tried out both but the bulk of my training has been fasted. Still, having not raced before in a ketogenic state, coupled with our later start time, I didn’t have the confidence in my body’s ability to run off of stored fat alone.
Albeit a little, I ate that morning and my start felt a little bogged down. It took a while to “power” back up but I am now more confident and knowledgable in what my body can do.
I addition to Lil Sis, I am thankful to these two for paving the way. They both took on the Spartan BEAST in a fat-fueled state — proving that it can be done safely.