Wow. First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been reading the blog and supporting my Trail to Trifecta journey. Now I am one race down and two races to go now, and I definitely have some fresh perspective on what the next couple of months are going to have in store. Last Saturday was my Spartan Sprint at Tuxedo Ridge, NY, the first of my three trifecta races! It was an amazing start to the journey, so let me give you a rundown on the day!
The Race Day
Weather.com became one of the most visited sites in my browser starting on Monday, May 28th. The forecast fluctuated between storms and rain and back to storms pretty much all week. However, when Saturday the 2nd rolled around the sky was bright, the sun was blazing, and I was so grateful to have a hydration pack and sunscreen with me!
The Tuxedo Spartan Races are held near the site of the New York State Renaissance Faire which was a staple of my childhood. My start time was 1 pm, so by the time we arrived at the grounds, there was a steady flow of adults and kids returning with their well-earned mud and medals. My mother ribbed me a bit, saying those were going to be my kids some day.
I can only hope!
Having run the Tuxedo Race in 2015, I knew this was going to be a lot of trekking up and down the mountain. While I may have gotten stronger, the course was not any easier. In between obstacles there were long treks up sunny slopes, and slippery, rock-studded trails through the woods.
I definitely had a near-miss running through the woods! If I hadn’t gotten my feet back underneath me, my head might have hit a rock! I know they have medical staff at the ready, but I would prefer not to have to see them.
Not gonna lie, I had trouble getting over the first wall. And I mean the first one, the one you go over to get to the starting line. In a way, it was a good wake up call. I stretched in the pen reminding myself not to get too cocky and just focus on this one obstacle at a time. This is not the kind of race you want to take lightly, because if you do you could get hurt.
Luckily, as I warmed up, the walls and hurdles became easier. I needed some assistance on a few walls, particularly the 6′ and the inverted wall. But, as usual with the Spartans, there was always someone there to give you a boost. Including a guy in a Captain America shirt who was racing with his – I assume – wife and daughter.
The cargo nets are always good for me, while I do have some fear of falling, I generally feel secure on them.
I ended up with five sets of penalty burpees — spear throw, rope climb, olympus, twister, and multirig.
Except for the spear throw, those obstacles all involve grip and upper body strength. These are areas I’ve struggled with especially.
The hardest obstacle of the day was the Slip Wall. And even more frustrating was that the slip wall was SO CLOSE to the end. This was when I got cocky again. Looking at it, even as people struggled, I thought I would be able to do it, no problem.
After four or five failures to jump high enough to grab hold of the rope, I was about ready to take the penalty burpees. Someone came over to give me a boost up to grab hold of the rope. I made it up to the top, swung my ankle over and slipped.
2 hours in, completely exhausted, I hung flush against the wall and clinging to the rope. I couldn’t go back to the bottom. I just couldn’t. But I couldn’t make my legs or arms move either.
I think I hung there for a good ten seconds before the volunteer tried to get someone to come help me from the other side.
I definitely could not go back to the bottom.
No, I was going to do this.
Come on, Spider-Man. Come on, Spider-Man.
I pulled my legs up underneath me, grabbed ahold of the top of the wall and pulled my body over the top.
I almost couldn’t believe I had done it.
And then it was, literally, all downhill from there.
Awesome Sightings at the Spartan Sprint
Firstly, there was a military service dog running with a team who appeared to be running for Wounded Warriors. The dog had gotten very hot, apparently, and was drinking out of one of the mud obstacles. Believe me, dog, it does not taste good!
Then, down towards the festival grounds, there was a big black snake hanging out in the grass. A few people shrieked, but to be honest, I think it was more scared of us. How would you feel if a bunch of big creatures were suddenly running all over your habitat? Not great, I bet.
My mom snapped this picture of it a bit later while it was in search of mud puddles to cool off.
Lastly, I saw a team that was working with someone who required a wheelchair. While they were trekking through the woods, they took turns either carrying their friend or carrying the chair. It was an amazing display of teamwork and friendship and exactly the kind of thing I love about the Spartan Race.
I don’t know how much progress I can make with my grip and back strength in just a month, but that is my number one priority. There’s a rock climbing wall in Hoboken that I want to check out, and I’ve been monkeying around on the pull up rigs at crossfit.
Luckily, I’ll have more time to prepare for the Beast because that will not be until late October, so I can get some more upper body work in.
Lastly, I am going to do a more serious warm up before I hit the course in July. My body definitely was still warming up as I started the race. While I initially felt like I was “conserving my energy,” I think it was more detrimental in the end because my heart and lungs were not ready for the level of work getting up that first incline.
How Can You Support Trail to Trifecta 2018?
My goal is to raise $1200 for travel for my Spartan Super in Palmerton on July 14th and my Spartan Beast in Dallas on October 27th.
Also, you can sign up for your own Spartan Race. Save 10% off when you use the code FINISH10.
Lenny & Larry’s Protein Cookies. 15% off your first order with code – BA100084.
The links below (and above) will get you some goodies, and get me a small commission to help towards the goal at no added cost to you.
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