Saturday, February 15, 2014

Spartan Race in Malibu - Part III

...Continued from Part 1 and Part 2


So there we were, through the hopping obstacle. (I'm sure that's not its real name, but Spartan Races can feel free to use my inspiringly laced technical jargon. No charge.) And we were in line for the opportunity to cross what felt like a river, but may have been more like a pond, of freezing cold water. Slowly, each person would enter the water, usually putting your arms over your head in hopes of keep as much of oneself dry (somewhat) and out of the cold water. What I loved about this was that there seemed to be very little talking. No one, male or female, seemed to be jumping around, putting one foot in, and then hop back out because of the cold water. In fact, you might see me doing this in my own pool, when it is 90+ degrees out and the water is in the 70's. Here, however, slowly you would take it step by step into the pond. Each time you would sink down a little further into the water. First, the shock of your feet. 'Okay, we know this was coming' you tell yourself, 'just keep going.' Then your legs, which usually isn't too bad, probably because all you can think about what is coming next.

'AAHHHHH!!!' You are screaming, but only in your mind. Maybe you let out a small, 'whoo'. But now there is no going back.

'Rrrrhhhhh!' Your chest is now covered in the water. You see people in front of you, noticing the depth of the water can depend on where you step. And in my case, you are wondering, 'When is the step where it is too deep and I am baptized in this river of ice that somehow they have figured out how to keep in its liquid state!?'

...and there's the step.

Luckily for myself, as I knew I was shorter, that it was only a matter of when, not if, it would be too deep, I was walking lightly. As my front foot started to notice there was no ground to be found as it was stepping down, my back foot pushed forward and...I'm swimming. It is here that the cold really set in. All I can think of at this point was, 'Get to the other side. Don't worry about those that are trying to stay close to the bushes for higher ground. You're swimming now, so GET TO THE OTHER SIDE.'

It wasn't very far, but when your body gets that cold, it just wants to stop. Within a few seconds I was to the other side and out of the water. It had become hard to breath, and I had a sharp piercing feeling in my nether regions. It took some time for this pain to subside. One could think about how us guys almost became girls in such cold water (think of the Seinfeld incident with George and Jerry's girlfriend), but I will simply refer to us being very girly when in the water, and wanting to squeal to get out. Honest laughed afterward at this part of the race as he was behind Muscles. Muscles stated at some point in crossing that he couldn't move, at which point Honest started swimming to the exit point as he could not wait for Muscles to get moving.

Needless to say, though we would still go through more water, and mud, this was BY FAR the coldest part of the race. Every other instance of water was nothing. What also came from this, as I had joked so prophetically before about, was that Legs found his legs, and was ready to go. From this point on Legs was even with us, if not leading the pack.


After a short stream crossing, it was on to the rope climb and hercules pull. (Again, not sure of the naming, but it will suffice.) Needless to say, I am still bugged that I did not complete the rope climb. This was a place that I figured I would do well at, but I spent all of my time and energy trying to get my feet correctly around the rope that there was little left in the tank to actually climb. I would have been better off simply using solely my arms to pull myself up, and then using my feet to allow for a rest when a knot in the rope would allow. (It sounds great doesn't it. Needless to say it would be a great strategy, except for the height at which you would be at near the top of the rope, and the shallow water that lay beneath that would provide only very little support to slow you down in falling to the ground if you slipped.

The hercules pull was actually not to difficult as compared to what we had seen before we started the race. We saw men, very large in stature that, with all of their might could not get the cement block off of the ground. So, you may ask, did I complete the obstacle. No. No I did not. But, I did get the block somewhere between 30-40% of the way up. I realized that the technique was keep, as was having good hand strength. My hands were shot from doing the rope climb right before (this was a complaint that several had, what have two obstacles right next to each other that use the same muscle groups), so I cut my losses and went the burpee route. Again, I probably did most of what I supposed to do, but didn't want to count. The also again, there was Honest being honest. I love that guy. The next obstacles were great. The overhanging wall, the barb wire crawl (which wasn't bad because the wires weren't too low due to the steepness of the hill, but they went on FOREVER!), and then the javelin throw.

It stinks that the javelin throw only give you one try, but due to limited spacing and the high percentage of people that fail at this, they only required 15 burpees. These, I actually did count out. Honest was rubbing off! Then it was through a couple ditches with water, then a quick submersion in water to go under a wall, (I will remind you that this was not nearly as bad nor as cold as crossing the river/pond.), and up a slanted wall/rope climb thing, and we were ready to jump over the fire and push through the guys at the end with the oversized Q-tips to victory.

Muscles, Legs, and myself were all but done, but there was no site of Honest. We stood by the fire to keep warm and waited a few minutes (good second use of one of the obstacles), and then I went back to look for Honest. He was coming, slow and steady. We later found out that after his cramped leg was manageable after the javelin throw (for which we were still with him), he still had to do his burpees. Sadly, Muscles must have thought he had done them, and was ready to go as he wasn't there to remind Honest he only needed to do 15, not the normal 30. Either way, we were back together, and if I remember correctly all did the jump over the fire together is what must have looked like a very manly fashion. And we were done.

The race was a blast, and I am sure we will do it again. Though we almost froze to death, we made it. We got changed, and after some great Vietnamese pho on the way home, we were laughing a almost proud of ourselves. Or, maybe just proud to be able to tell the guys that backed out that they suck, and missed a great time.

(Leaving the race. Man, I wish I got some better shots of that beard. From some angles it almost looked good. Almost.)

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