Friday, January 24, 2014

Spartan Race in Malibu - Part I

MIXING IT UP A BIT

Alright, I am not a runner. I repeat, I am not a runner. So when a buddy approaches me to do some race (or maybe better called 'another event wherein I trick myself into being active so my body doesn't know it's really doing exercise'), but this time it even involves RUNNING, I am not really interested.

That said, he is a good friend, so I thought I would hear him out. (For purposes of this article, I think each of the people will be given a nickname. So, I will call this buddy Muscles. Not that he's super ripped or anything, but as he does work out more than I do, which means 'at all' I will call him Muscles.) What I knew from what Muscles told me, and a quick view of the website, was this: 
  • This race would be ~5k. (So I was telling myself 'Okay, 3 miles'. See, I need to round down as part of the mind fooling process. Upon further looking into the race material I discovered it was 4 miles. I realize that 4 miles is nothing to you runner folk, but let me remind you that I AM NOT a runner. I don't think I could jog a mile straight, and couldn't remember the last time a ran/jogged/walked a mile. So how would I overcome this?
  • There would be obstacles - something like 12 to 16 of them if I remember correctly. What they were, they wouldn't tell you before the race. However, there were a few events that seemed to be in most events (i.e. spear throwing, rope climbing, some sort of water obstacle, a barb wire crawl). Two things I knew about the obstacles would be, regardless of what the actual obstacles were. 1 - They looked fun. What guy doesn't want to get muddy climbing over stuff, under stuff, through stuff, maybe be throwing stuff, even swimming through stuff...you know 'stuff!'. and 2 - These obstacles actually broke up the running. All of the sudden I wasn't going to run 4 miles, I was going to run a few (16 now called a 'few', see, more trickery of the mind) quarter mile legs. This was much easier to swallow than the 4 mile run I was previously confronted with.
  • We would get a group of guys, and be doing this with more of a team approach. This also added to the appeal of the event. Rather than feel like I would simply be smoked by Muscles, and anyone else that agreed to do it, and thus be left to my own devices, we would actually be working all together. We could help encourage and push each other to succeed. Now, I wasn't alone.
Anyways, with these things in mind, I told Muscles I was in and we put together a small team of guys to take on the Spartan Race in Malibu. Truth be told the team looked to be as big as 7 or 8 guys at one point, but we ended up with 4 of us. (As 3 or 4 guys didn't actually make it out, they will be excluded from receiving super dapper nicknames.) Those that remained were Muscles, myself, and guys that I shall refer to as Legs and Honest.

PREPARATION?

Leading up to the race, Legs and I decided we needed to hit the gym to start preparing. Legs is a tall guy and was more worried about getting some upper body strength in the whopping month that we had to get ready for this event. I, on the other hand, was worried about one thing, and one thing only, running. Legs and I would usually spin for a few minutes at the gym to warm up, go lift some weights, and then finish with time on the treadmill. Legs and I would start slow on the treadmill and work our speed up. It was difficult at times for both of us, but all I could remember as I would try and keep pace with Legs's speed was, 'If only I was taller and had longer legs like he does, this wouldn't be so bad.' Thus my decision to call Legs, Legs. 

So as to provide the evidence of our dedication, we probably hit the gym 5 or so times before the event, so you could tell we would be ready. (Luckily, I did at least get in a good ride or two each week to help get the heart rate up, so I guess I did have a little more help.)

As stated earlier, Muscles was pretty regular at the gym so I knew he would be fine. As for Honest, he actually likes to run, so I also knew this race wouldn't be difficult for him either.

THE CONDITIONS

Before actually getting to the race itself, I will give you a couple other 'known' facts we had before the start of the race. First, we had one of the last start times of the day, at 3:30. It would be dark before we were done, and we would need headlamps. This could be great, but it would also mean that it would be a colder day in December to do the race. But Malibu in December can be cool (maybe even warm) to cold, all depending on the weather. Second, the actual forecast for the day showed the temperature to be in the 50's, with rain. Rainy, cold, dark. Suddenly, the race began to get real.

(Legs, Myself, Muscles, and Honest trying to give the 'Tough Guy' face. Funny how most of us equate that to squinting our eyes.)

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