Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

August 5, 2018

Utah Spartan Super & Sprint, July 2018

Spartan race photos have to be some of the most flattering pics ever.  Pain, suffering, and sweat with some muddy water mixed in.   Considering that's really all I've posted about this year, for the official record, then I guess I'm usually muddy, grimacing, soaking wet, and tired.  Actually I'm not sure why I'm posting them.  Because they are there, I guess.  To prove that I do get out of bed (occasionally) in the morning.   To make my mother wonder if her child was switched at birth with a stranger's.  

Today is my one year Spartan anniversary.   After suffering through my first race here in Utah last year in the heat, I decided I liked them, and I've done 9 more since then.   With varying success and occasionally an Age Group podium, giving me just enough hope to keep chasing the dream.  

Today was my first Spartan bonk.  

Expression used by cyclists to describe excercise induced low blood sugar levels; being a feeling of light-headedness and weakness in all limbs. Similar to 'The Wall' in running. Has fallen out of usage in recent years due to alternative meanings.
I am feeling a bit light-headed, if I don't have a banana, I think I'm going to bonk. 
Perhaps I should find another word to describe this, as alternative meanings can be rather suggestive.  Either way, after about 6 miles of running fast and feeling good, conquering a lot of steep, calf busting hills (ok I walked on those along with everyone else), I forgot to drink enough water.   I found myself unable to run, sort of weaving along the course wondering what was wrong.   Suddenly just getting over a 6' wall was hard.   While I usually make up time on my competitors on the second half of the course, today I was barely maintaining.   Somehow I managed to complete all the obstacles in my way, and getting my wits about me, chugged a bit of water.  It was probably too little, too late, on a very hot morning.  
Then I missed that darn spear.   I'd been practicing in the back yard twice a day for months.  Perfect throw, too far to the right.  30 burpees was suddenly a very painful addition to my race.   By the finish line, I couldn't run a step, and soaking wet, could barely haul myself over the slip wall, watched a woman in my Age Group bound up and over.   All I could think about was that I still had to jump over the fire.   "Don't fall in, don't fall in" I repeated to myself as I gathered energy to take 3 running steps to make it over.   Even in my own eyes, I was pathetic.  
My mantra at the end was "Don't fall in the fire"
Fast forward 24 hours to the sprint.  I had guzzled enough water to empty Utah Lake, and eaten a few carbs to help my neglected glycogen stores.   Plus we had soaked ourselves in Pineview reservoir which felt amazing.  My legs felt pretty good, as I hadn't pounded them with running the day before.   Small favors I guess.

It was a much quieter crowd on the second day.   Spartan had added the sprint to the schedule late in the game, and only about 1000 people were doing it.  5000 people had finished the Super yesterday, so everything felt a little calmer.  And the shortened course meant that those terribly steep hills on the Super were not part of this race.  In fact, it was almost, but not quite, flat.

The whole race started a bit later, and Jim and I had start times only 15 minutes apart.  No waiting around today for us.   We were going a bit later than usual though, so the temps were already heating up.   Smoke from some fires out West actually made it stay a little cooler, although our lungs probably weren't as happy.

I felt really good the whole way around, and quickly ran past my former self weaving crookedly down the trails.  I even hit the same spear dead center.  No burpees.  My first finish under an hour (:47 minutes to be exact), and enough for a second place finish in my age group.

Jim had a great race with his fastest finish as well.   I think once you get the hang of an obstacle, it isn't as scary and you're more likely to get it the next time.  That's certainly been true for both of us.  Jim finish first in his age group and was very excited....I think he's picked up the Spartan bug as he was even contemplating trying a Super someday....!

Next up in late August is a weekend trifecta (Beast, Super, and Sprint) in West Virginia, which is also the Spartan National Championships.   That might be a little hard.  Difficult.  Painful.  My mother will again wonder if I officially belong in their family.   My official goal is to finish, my secret goal is to podium all three races.   Actually I really want a 1st and 3rd to round out my medals.  My very very secret goal is "not" not drink enough water and watch the whole world pass me by.   Although in West Virginia with all the rain lately, I might be able to drink enough water out of the humid air to last for the whole weekend....

Heat shimmers from the fire.  Luckily I'm soaking wet from the dunk wall. 

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