This was my only Spartan Race of the year and I’m disappointed to say it was less than great. I may be as bold to say that right now I have no intention of ever running a Spartan Beast ever again. However, that being said ONE of the only positives from the day was this view!
In 2015, I ran 7 Spartan Races. 3 Sprints, 2 Supers and 2 Beasts. One of my favourite races of last year was the 2015 Ottawa Spartan Beast. The course at Mont St. Marie was beautiful. There was long trail running portions and unique obstacles. I even ran that race with a swollen hand and knew I’d have to do more burpees than obstacles due to lack of grip strength. And even despite the “fat hand” I had an amazing race and even placed 6th in my age group.
For this race, I know that I wasn’t in the best shape as I’ve had minimal training since moving to Ottawa. Getting a new puppy and getting into new routines has been difficult and my training has suffered. Despite the lack of training I still felt somewhat strong going into the race. You can see in the below photo the half scared, half excited face leaving the start line.
While registration was organized much more efficiently this year the starting corral was not. They let elites out right at 8am and then it was a mad dash to the corral where they’d release waves of racers every 5 mins with no organization. I’m not really sure what time I actually left the gate. I haven’t found my Polar watch in all my moving boxes yet so this was a “naked” wrist race. Which I definitely don’t recommend on the longer races because it becomes harder to time your nutrition. I know my body and I usually take half an Endurance Tap every 30 – 45 mins and this time I had to go by exertion. Every short hill climb I’d down half a pack of Endurance Tap and every long hill climb I’d finish a full pack. It worked fairly well for me despite no watch.
So here is how the race went for me. I felt strong for the first 2 hours and then the course started running out of water. I finished the race in 7.5 hours and probably spent around 4.5 hours without any water to re-hydrate. I was miserable by the end of the race. I had horrible MS symptoms, the entire right side of my body had gone numb and tingly and I was losing my balance and swerving all over the course. I had minimal to zero grip strength at the end of the course so I had to keep knocking out burpees vs. even attempting obstacles. These gassed me completely and without water it made the race experience even worse.
But you know I always try and find the silver lining in things so…
HERE ARE MY POSITIVES
- The view was utterly amazing at the top of the mountain.
- I got the monkey bars and rope climb. These two obstacles usually “scare me” so that’s always a win when I can complete them.
- My friend Brian ran and got me ice packs from the medics twice to cool down. Once when I came in to the Herc Hoist/Rope Climb area and I was able to cool off and climb the rope without problem. I then took both ziplocks with ice and carried them in my pack. I ended up eating the ice cubes and drinking the melted water on the next hill climb which helped at the moment. Brian then ran a second time when I came in for the Platinum Rig at the end. It helped me finish my burpees and cross the finish line. I’m so grateful for my Alpha Family who have always been there for me.
At the end of the day am I upset at the organization of the race. I know how to race and take care of myself in long races but this past weekend on the mountain I put my body at risk without water and without being able to cool myself down. I held off posting this blog on Monday to see if I’d feel different but I can’t justify putting my body at risk like I did last weekend. I’ll can easily focus on races with much better direction and water stations. I’m sorry Spartan but you’ve lost a future Beast racer.
At the end of the day I’m still super proud of myself. I didn’t have any personal bests, I didn’t place high enough to even qualify for OCRWC but I crossed the finish line. I got another medal to show myself I’m stronger than I think most days. I’m stronger than my MS and I’m an obstacle course racer. And that is a successful race in itself.