SoCal Spartan Beast

Posted: September 16, 2014 in My life... Training for obstacle races
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This was the hottest race I’ve ever run.


I ran the ‘Scottsdale Beat the Heat’ run last summer when the temps were well into the 100s, but this race was much harder than that 5K event.

The SoCal Spartan Beast was held in the same area as the SoCall Tough Mudder earlier this year, so I knew it was going to be a very hilly race.

I started at 12:45pm and the temp was already at 101F. I was wearing my Camelbak filled with Gatorade. It was the first time I was running a race with a Camelback.  I wasn’t sure about how it would affect me, but it turned out to be one of my better ideas.

When we started running I could tell this was going to be a rough race.  Breathing in the heat was definitely noticeable, but my throat started to feel like it was burning a little.  Each breath in felt like I was swallowing little razors.

That’s when the hill climb started.

This hill was no joke. I paced myself, took my time and just kept moving. I really wasn’t looking too far ahead, but as I round a corner about a quarter mile up the hill, I saw several runners lined up along the side of the course.  They were resting. Some had even started walking back down. That’s when I stopped to look around and noticed the air. There was something glistening in the air. Little flecks of something just wafting around us. It was a silicate-type of dust. That explained what we were breathing in. I had been coughing, but I thought it was just the mucus in my throat building up, but I started to notice everyone else coughing as well.  I looked up and saw the air was filled with this dust! So, I put my headband over my nose and kept going.

The number of people lining the sides of the track seemed to be increasing. They were just giving up. That’s when I saw it… the sign for mile marker 1.

Yup, this was going to be a rough race. I slowed my pace to a brisk walk going up the rest of the hill and as the descent started around mile 3, I ran all the way down the hill.  I continued this pace – brisk walk up the hills and quick runs down the hills.  It seemed to work pretty well for me.  The hills were so long that even the most conditioned runners were being affected and eventually had to slow their pace down as well.  The only difference was that I was recovering faster than they were. My strategy was paying off.

When we got to the ‘rock bucket carry’, I had no issues.  I filled my bucket, put it on my shoulder, walked down and around the hill, then back up. I switched sides once or twice, but never stopped.  I dumped the bucket and started up the next hill.

The tire flips, the tire drag, the concrete block drag… no problem.

The mud crawls were a huge hold up. Many of the runners didn’t anticipate how much gravel would be mixed in with the mud. They weren’t used to crawling along on their elbows and knees and feeling the rocks dig in to their skin. It really isn’t as bad as it sounds and they only cuts I got were when I sped up as I passed other runners over the solid gravel masses at the top of each much hump.  It was completely mind over matter.  As some of them got up and quit, or just stopped in the middle of the obstacle, I just kept going knowing that the sooner I was through it, the sooner I’d be able to move on.

The traverse wall and the rope climb ARE MY JAM! =D  I got those done just the way the did in training. No burpees for me!  But… I missed the spear throw. 30 burpees and I was back on my way.

We got to a sludge pit and I just enjoyed gliding my way through the smelly, but very cooling, water/sludge mixer.  It was definitely a welcome break from the heat. Next up was another mud crawl, then the slippery rope/wall climb, then the fire pit.

Then it was over.

My time of 3 hours and 20 minutes put me in the top 100 finishers.  Of the 8000+ runners that started the event, just short of 2600 finished.  It was that brutal.

I was just happy to finish it.

I earned my Trifecta for the year and now I’m ready to start XTERRA Trail racing season!

See you tomorrow for the WOD!

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