Second Spartan weekend of the year for us, and I'd been training hard on upper body strength. I had also topped up my iron stores after testing a little anemic after the last Spartan. But Ft. Carson, CO was at 6000 feet of elevation so perhaps those two factors would cancel out?
The race was on the Army Base, which I hadn't been on since my own Army days. Luckily getting on base was fairly painless aside from a military dog sniffing my bag as I checked into the race. The weather was again perfect for racing, cool but not cold, and warm enough by the midway of the race to get soaked under the dunk wall and feel good about it. Except for the mud and rocks now stuck in my shoes....perhaps gaiters next time?
The course looked rather flat on the map. I guess they always do. In reality, we went up and down a rocky plateau into a gully about 6 or 7 times. It was only 100 feet or so, but I started to dread those accents. The only good this was that I could pace myself and not rest, and pass a few people here and there.
The course was absolutely sans trail, and we plowed our own new trails, through tall grass and cactus, on what was probably Ft. Carson's shooting range. We passed shot-up tanks, mock Iraqi villages, and other detritus. I couldn't believe how many cactus got stepped on, and was hoping my shoes were up to the challenge of keeping out the spines. No barefoot shoes for racers today I hoped! Even the obstacles had cactus in the area, and I pulled spines out of my hands after the barbed wire crawl, and again after doing the mandatory 5 burpees at the Atlas carry. Ouch.
The steep short hills continue until the end, with the course sometimes taking us up to the plateau and then straight back down again. After the dunk wall, we climbed the hill again, and tackled the Twister, which I almost skipped and went straight to the burpees. But I thought, eh, I'll try it. To my amazement, this time it was easy! As easy as the Twister can get, anyway.
Right after the Twister was the Olympus Wall, which seemed rather diabolical. I was so excited not to be doing burpees that my mind blanked out for a bit. I did get some burpees at the Spear Throw, darn that thing. I got more spines in my hands as punishment, but the race was almost over by then, so the tweezers at the hotel came in handy.
After racing Elite last time in Las Vegas, and realizing I was out of my depth, I moved to Age Group category. Very happy to find out I had finished 2nd in my Age Group, which got me a spot on the podium and qualified me to go to West Virginia for the US National Championship in August.
On Sunday Jim joined me and we raced again, a Sprint this time which always seems nice and short after a Super. The course cut off many needless trips up and down that plateau, but that just meant the dunk wall, now deeper and muddier, arrived sooner.
Oh happy day! When I hit the spear I knew I would have my first BURPEE-FREE race! That felt really nice. Now to go home and do more ring swings and spear throws so I can do that more often :)
Checking out the newest anti-bomb transport for troops in the desert
|Horses led us out at the starting gun of the race|
|Spot was not impressed with the award ceremony|