I have always loved Spartan races, as these ones truly challenge you both physically and mentally, and you can also pin point your overall goals and achievements over a period of time. Knowing the areas that you failed and then conquered are great milestones, however you need to remember WHY you do these things. I started doing OCR racers because of how much fun it was and the people around me, and somewhere along the way I lost sight of that and started to put more and more pressure on my overall performance, with this time round challenging me more mentally rather then physcially. I failed obstacles that I have never failed before and some took more out of me then anything else I could think of, the emotions started building and I completely lost my way, with inevitability causing me to breakdown on the course, more than once.
The great thing about doing these events, is seeing the familiar faces that share your overall goals, and whilst running or walking along people are there encouraging you every step of the way. Probably if it wasn't for this I wouldn't have completed the course, as I was an emotional wreck, which when you tend to be positive person, can take you by surprise.
The Beast included some additional obstacles including an additional spear throw, kettle bell carry, skipping rope and additional hills. Thanks to Anthony Bailey recap video, which helped remind me of the order of the obstacles.
Carmo Net Crawl
Wall Climb x 2 plus the Hole in the Wall
The hole in the wall is an interesting one, as basically you can't really jump up and over, but jump up and threw. I found some techniques to make this transition a little cleaner. Click here to view.
After this was another Cargo Net, with the same thing happening with the hydration pack, really should have learnt from the first one.
Spartan Spear Throw or The Burpee Maker
It was also good to the spear throw so early on, as usually its towards the end of the course. This was also not part of the Sprint run.
Then it was a scurry to the first Toberalone, up and over another wall and then a set of 4 Toberalones.
WOW - this literally took all my strength and concentration to get this up to the top, it felt so ridiculously heavy that it took everything. From using my feet against bar, and using all my body weight just to get the thing moving. Had to stop a couple of times and stood on the rope to gather and refocus. I still had Richard there, helping me through it, by this stage I was feeling guilty for holding him back, but appreciated the extra support. Deanna also turned up here, so it was good to her in action, just smashing it out.
By this stage I had lost all focus and energy, as I gave it my all on the rope climb and hercules hoist. I got to the top and fell back down, in which I was devastated, never having failed this obstacle before, it took me by surprise. Resulting in the start of my burpee penalties streak (30 per failed obstacle). This just added to the emotional roller coaster that I was currently having, including the immense amount of self doubt. Its crazy what your mind does to you.
Straight after the Slippery Wall, was a new Spartan obstacle 'The Fortress', have to say that this looked like an awesome obstacle, but my arms, body and mind were really not ready for this. I got midway, and hooked my foot into the gap between the wall and the overhang. Again self doubt came into play, and the stupid thought about if I slipped, that would result in breaking my ankle. I wasn't really thinking about each of the steps, and maybe visualising where I needed to go next would have helped, instead I hung between the two sections and then fell, and yep resulting in another 30 burpee penalty.
I say the muddy crawl, but the smell of the mud would say it was anything but mud, your only way through it was to get down, dirty and crawl.
After this was when the cramp hit, running up a small hill. This really doesn't help your mindset, to cripple you on the floor without being able to move, but knowing full well that I needed to stretch it out. Not a fun thing to do, when your muscles are just contracting. A few people ran past and asked if I was ok, then it was that knowing look when you said it was cramp. Not much you can do apart from stretch, luckily a kind guy ran past and offered a crampeze which I took quite happily (another note to self to take one of these with me on the next event).
Monkey Bars / Rings
My ultimate nemesis, these always get me guaranteed, not sure if I think about it too much or its just the waves of self doubt that I always have during this obstacle. First attempt I made three bars and the second 4 bars, not a great feat especially as I just wanted to make to the end, but with my current mind set, I was not surprised that I failed quicker then I usually do. So it was another set of burpees and back over some more Toberalones.
Barbed Wire Crawl
This was probably where my knees started looking like I put them through some cheese graters, the crawl was long, wet and full of gravel. Although this time I made sure I took my hydration pack off before even attempting this one. There was no point getting it caught in the barbed wire and regretting it. It did seem to go for a while, and I kept getting caught behind people. I suppose its the pleasures of being small that you can just crawl through it.
My usual technique went out the window, as I clambered across the rope. They also usually have a ribbon so you know when you are at the end, so you just continued going until you pretty much hit your head on the next container, resulting in slipping off the end of the landing. Things were definitely not boding well for me at this stage.
Spartan Throw No. 2
It was at this stage when Dave and Michael came back to meet me and support me through the rest of the course, to have the support through the rest of the course, is just what I needed, I was pretty much feeling at my lowest point, and was slowly getting through each of the obstacles without much thought or feeling. It was hard not to break down after seeing them, but having them there really did help me get through to the end.
After this it was another freezing Water Crossing and then it was onto another Wall Climb and through another Hole in the Wall.
Deadball Over Wall
Wall Climb and Cargo
I was not ready to go and do it all again, and was really ready just to stay behind and support everyone else. With some much needed persuasion from Dave, I did go out and do it again, but this time I took my time and enjoyed the journey. Reminding me of why I do love this sport and will continue to love this sport, even when you have to fight through your own inner demons. I know that things will get better, one step at a time.