Hadn't planned on doing this race, but since it gave me a chance to qualify for the Spartan World Championships in Tahoe this September, it was hard to think about not going. It was a long drive down almost to LA from Utah. Jim couldn't come with me as he was gone as well for business. So I got to see the Snow Summit ski resort where he had originally learned to ski at. Actually I saw more of it than I really wanted to, on foot anyway!
I took my time going down and stopped to soak my feet in these hot springs, just a couple miles off the I-15 in Utah. Amazing recommendation from a friend and I will definitely be passing by these again. Just out in the middle of a dry cow pasture, no trees or anything, but deep pools of blue, hot water. I considered jumping in, but forgot I had no towels with me at all. Next time!
The desert gave way to pine trees finally, as I approached Big Bear and the Spartan area. My hotel was literally 50 feet from the registration area, which made it easy to come and go over the weekend! The Beast was on Saturday, it turned out to be about 12 miles long, with 5000 feet of climbing. Since the ski hill on the mountain only has about 1200 feet of vertical, that meant we had to climb the whole thing at least 4 times. Ouch.
Right out of the starting gate, we were going straight up the ski hill. It was steep. Power hiking was the word of the day. The Elites may have been running, but nobody in the Age group could keep it up for long.
I finally felt like I got my clothing right for the race. Dirty Girl Gaiters on my shoes to keep the dust and rocks out meant I didn't have to stop at all for foot problems. No blisters. Spartan gloves on my hands to protect me from sandbag carries, bucket carries, walls, burpees, more walls, and the 2 barbed wire crawls. Oh, and the Olympus wall. I took of my gloves for the monkey bars, spear throw, rope climb and Twister. Shoved them in a pocket of my Gypsy Runner shorts, which had huge pockets. Large enough I could carry 1/2 liter of water without noticing, and a snack for the 4 hour race. Sports bra and that was it.
The weather was perfect. Warm but not hot, sunny, a gentle breeze, and dry. The dunk wall wasn't until the end of the race so I didn't have to worry about soggy shoes and socks. The whole day was a series of steep ups and steep downs, but that suits me so I continued to pass people along the way. Even a women who said she was an Olympic athlete (in the past). Clearly she could run faster than me, but kept failing on the obstacles and had already done 120 burpees by the 1/2 way mark!
There was no snow left on the mountain but a couple of mounds. We got a good tour of the bermed mountain biking trails, though...although I suggest they would certainly be more fun to ride down than walk up, which is what we were doing! My least favorite obstacle of the day turned out to be my first time doing the double sandbag carry. One balanced on my back, one hugged to my chest, and it was up and down an awfully steep hill. It was awful. It was the first and only time all day that I had to stop and rest while I was doing it. Along with everyone else! That was diabolical. Managed to clear everything even spear throw this time...no burpees! And the dunk wall at the finish felt amazing, I was so hot by then.
I finished by noon, which gave me a chance to watch everyone else finish too...all day long. I was amazed to walk out at 8:30 that evening, and still see headlamps on the bucket carry, about a mile from the finish...cutoff was at 9 pm! The dunk wall at the finish didn't seem quite so inviting by then I would guess, as it was pretty cool, windy, and dark by then.
Sunday was a repeat of the same, but just a 4.5 mile Sprint distance. This time on tired legs. That first hill after the start somehow felt even worse, but at least this shorter distance only had us going up and down the ski hill once. And that terrible, horrible double sandbag carry wasn't on this course either. Even one sandbag felt like it was taking inches off my spine!
Anyway, 5th in my age group on Saturday, 2nd on Sunday, but I didn't stay for the awards as I had a long drive home. Very excited though, as this qualified me directly for the World Championships in Tahoe in September. If I can manage it, there I will be doing a Beast on Saturday and an UltraBeast on Sunday. Ouch!
|Found this little gem of a hit spring on my way down to the race off 1-15!|
|Elite Women's heat was full, this was one of five National Series Races for sweet prize money|
|Ben Greenfield jumps in on the Men's Elite heat on Sunday Morning Sprint|