Monthly Archives: August 2016

NY 2016 – Eats, Deets & Workouts

Oh New York.  I’m not talking about the city.  I’m talking about the state.  When I say we are going on our annual family trip to New York, I mean we are going to visit my husband’s hometown.  The small “village” is actually situated approximately 30 minutes Northwest of Albany and about 45 minutes southwest of Saratoga Springs.  We choose to go up every year in August so that my husband can catch the summer meet at Saratoga Race Track (we are talking horse racing).  Before I met him, I had no clue there was actually enough people watching the sport that a venue could sustain an event like this for over a month (holding approximately 10 races a day, 6 days a week). Don’t these people work?

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Neither here nor there, we try to fly out such that we have two full weekends at the track (when the most anticipated horse races are competed).  This is the third time that the girls have flown on an airplane together, so we are starting to get our hands around how best to book flights that revolve around nap times and meals.  We typically pack a lunch for us all to eat on the plane, as I have found that trying to buy food at the airport can be completely inconvenient and expensive.  The way there was smooth sailing.  We opted to fly out on a lunchtime flight, in which both kids (surprisingly) fell asleep.

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My husband’s mom picked us up from the airport, and we were on our way.  Am I the only one that thinks it’s odd that so many people in New York have pools when they only get a few months of warm weather?  The girls sure were excited to get in Mimi and Papa’s (that’s what they call their grandparents) pool.  Our youngest didn’t even have time to get her bathing suit on.  They swam long enough to work up an appetite before we headed to one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town.

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Pretty mom and pop.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the “buttered bread” that they bring to every table.  If you can picture an entire homemade loaf of bread sliced thickly before each slice is covered in smooth butter, that would be what they serve.  My children typically do not shy away from butter, but I have to say they even wanted me to scrape some of it off.  One glass of wine down, our pizza arrived!  See picture above.  Two slices was all I needed.  They serve the sauce on top of the cheese (almost like a deep dish).  Feels (and tastes) like home.

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We went to bed as early as the kids would let us.  Why is it so hard to get the kids adjusted to a bed time on vacation?  We started with one room for the girls and one room for us.  We played musical beds all week (depending on who was more tired).  I’m not going to lie, sleeping was pretty rough out of town, which is why it was good we had time to rest if we needed to.

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Maybe it was vacation or maybe it was lack or activity, but I just don’t get hungry as early when we are in New York.  On Saturday, my husband and I slept in (ultimately meaning we didn’t get up early to exercise).  We dilly dallied around the house before we headed to the local golf course clubhouse for brunch.  Anticipating that my next meal may not be until later in the day, I ordered two pancakes and bacon.  You have to have protein right?  The girls took a ride around in the golf cart before we headed home and my husband and I got ready to go to the track.

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The girls are finally getting to an age where they recognize their grandparents and feel comfortable with us leaving them over night.  A day at the track is literally a day at the track.  We drive 45 minutes before parking, walking a half mile to the entry gate and getting settled.

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I am an accountant.  I understand odds.  I bet a little here and there, but I don’t bet with much intention.  Sometimes I try to pick a winner.  Other times I pick a name or a number.  For the most part I just enjoy walking around, people watching and having a few adult beverages.  I couldn’t tell you how many thousands of steps we take at the track.  There is a lot of time between the races. There are a lot of things to look at.

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We got caught in a complete downpour at the track the first day we went.  We huddled inside a long bar and munched on kettle corn popcorn while we waited out the storm. They ended up calling the remaining races.  My husband can’t remember the last time this happened.  To say he was disappointed is an understatement.  Once the rain slowed up, we stopped for dinner at a local Saratoga restaurant.  I feel like this is another one of our “regular” spots when we head up north.

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On Sunday, my husband opted to hit the track while the girls and I stayed at the house.  One of the neighborhood kids was having her birthday party.  A pool party.  With an obstacle race bouncy house and magician (who actually made balloon animals).

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Since both of the girls are now preoccupied with pools, my mother-in-law and I both suited up to watch them as they swam.  My oldest daughter is dabbling with jumping off the little diving board.  As such, I had to demonstrate a “cannonball” to entice her jump herself.  It was kind of fun.

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I mention the obstacle race bouncy house because I was obsessed with it.  Maybe I will have one at my 32nd birthday party later this year?  I was surprised how good my girls were at climbing through, up and down the massive structure.  It really was fun. In fact, it was so fun, I challenged my husband (who showed up after the last horse race) to a competition.  I narrowly missed beating him (we attempted to take a video, but it didn’t work out).

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All in all, we had a great time at the party.  We actually ended up eating there.  They had an incredible spread of grilled chicken skewers, chips, fruit, macaroni and cheese and cake (of course).

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Let me clarify.  We had cake at the party.  We then headed to the local diner to get ice cream.  Another thing I am still trying to figure out is why there are so many ice cream places in an area that isn’t that warm a better part of the year.  I’m not complaining.  Just saying.  Let me note, I did go for a slow 5 mile run that morning.

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My husband used to scoop ice cream at the local diner, so the owner asked to grab a quick picture of the family on our way out.

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Monday is family day at the track.  Quite literally.  I guess Mondays are considered a slower day, so they put together a variety of activities to entice families to check things out.  We grabbed bagels, donuts and coffee at Dunkin Donuts before making the 45 minute drive to the track.  We left early so the girls could watch the horses do their workouts.  The track is open early every morning for the horses to workout, prior to racing later on in the day/week.

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I guess our two year old wasn’t feeling the early wake up call because she refused to participate in family pictures.  Maybe it’s her age.  She preferred to walk around with her potty seat on top of her head.  I let her do it.  I even took a picture of it.  I’m sure she won’t believe she acted that way when I tell her the story years from now.  My youngest on the other hand, loved watching the animals and was more than willing to spend some quality time with her grandma.

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We hit the “step and repeat” wall before heading to the playground.  They have all of this at the track.  The environment is quite welcoming to children.  The remaining family activities were not set to start until closer to lunch, so we walked to downtown Saratoga to do some shopping and ride the Carrousel.

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This umbrella.  My oldest got a horse umbrella.  The youngest got a matching horse lunchbox.  Needless to say, the umbrella was out the rest of the day.  It didn’t matter if we were inside, outside or trying to ride home in the car.  I don’t know how it didn’t break.  By the end of the day, she had successfully mastered opening and closing it.

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The Carrousel.  The main attraction for children in downtown Saratoga – Congress Park.  Merry go round.  I literally made it one time around before I felt like I was going to throw up. Good thing the girls were able to enjoy the ride and spend some quality time with everyone else.  We grabbed sandwiches at a local deli before making the walk back to the track to watch the first race and head home. Between our early morning run and the walk to downtown and back, we accumulated over 13 miles.

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I figured both kids would be exhausted from the morning and fall asleep in the car but nothing ever goes as planned in mom world.  My oldest was itching to do something Monday afternoon, so I took a gamble and opted to take her with me to get a pedicure and a manicure.  Wow.  Let me just say this.  Wow.  She did better than I ever could have guessed.  She sat amazingly still as she watched them massage her feet, paint her toenails and wait for them to dry.

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Monday night dinner at home.  Our oldest became quite the sous chef while in New York.  She was more than willing to help Mimi in the kitchen.  While we are talking about the kitchen and food, I should bring up Stewart’s ice cream.  Stewart’s is actually a type of 7-11/gas station in the north that carries its own line of ice cream.  You can actually walk in and get sundaes and milkshakes as well.  My favorite – Crumbs Along the Mohawk.  Just read the description.  It’s a shame they don’t deliver.

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The track is closed on Tuesday.  We had all day with my husband to do something as a family.  My mother-in-law had mentioned going to “Animal Land” one of the days that we were visiting since our youngest loves animals so much.

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Animal Land is about 20 minutes from where my husband grew up.  It actually reminds me of a zoo.  There are a ridiculous amount of animals there – giraffes, zebras, bears, gosh the list goes on.  They even have a safari ride where you ride an open air bus around an uncaged area.  Animals are free to walk up to the vehicle as the guide explains the various creatures.

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The girls really did have a good time.  My youngest more than the oldest (as we expected).  She really had no fear when it came to reaching out to some very large animals to feed them.  They also had several (Chuck E Cheese type) rides at the exit for them to enjoy.  We enjoyed yet another meal at home that evening before having some Crumbs Along the Mohawk.

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Wednesday was another low key day.  We drove to a nearby lake where we grabbed lunch and let the girls run around on a man made beach.  The water was actually warmer than we thought it would be.  Since I had never been to the area before, we spent some time driving around and sight seeing while the girls took naps in the back.

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Since I was still gambling back and forth as to whether I wanted to compete in the Spartan World Championships, I figured I should try to get a strength workout in one of the days we were out of town.  In an effort to spend time with my husband, I asked him if he wanted to go to a local playground with me.  This picture is actually from last year.  He was in such a bad mood about “Spartan training” that he did his own thing when we arrived at the park and gave me 40 minutes to get my stuff done.  Mouth shut.  I was off, and I wasn’t  asking him to take videos or pictures.  I wasn’t too thrilled about exercise myself, but I got in a solid workout.

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We spent the rest of the day at the house playing with the girls, before I actually took a nap.  It was incredible.  I hope you notice the Dora bib my oldest is wearing in several pictures.  She loves Dora.  She found this in a drawer at the house.  She literally slept in it.  That lasted about three days.  I was on vacation.  I didn’t argue.

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I had a few “bucket list” foods that I wanted to eat before I left New York.  The pizza on day one was one of them.  The second was a pizza roll from Brooklyn Pizza.  Look at those beautiful rolls basking in the sunlight.  If I am going to go all in, I am going to go all in.  They stuff each roll with whatever you want and then give you a side of marinara to dip it in.

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I opted for the veggie roll.  Cheese. Mushroom.  Spinach. Red peppers.  Bread.  Lots of it.  I ate every bite, and I didn’t feel bad about it.  I work too hard to deprive myself.

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Nights are the absolute best!  Little to no humidity.  It’s quiet.  It’s cool.  We spent a lot of time just sitting out in the front yard.  I used to do the same thing when I visited my grandpa up in Floyd, VA.  There is something so humbling about sitting out in the country without the phone, music or television.

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This is a long post.  Stay with me.  The rest of the week went by pretty fast.  My husband and I booked a room in Saratoga for Thursday night and left the girls with my in-laws.  Prior to hitting the road for the day, we hit the road for hill and speed workouts.  I typically work out with a running group outside of my house on Thursday morning.  I knew they would be working hard, so I was motivated to as well.  I hit the pavement and completed the following speed work out.

  • Warm Up
  • 2 x mile
  • 2 x 800 m
  • 4 x 400 m
  • Cool Down

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My husband finished the 400 meter repeats with me.  Well, he actually smoked me, but he started at the same time as I did. It was actually fun this time. I love how much he ball busts me and jokingly eggs my athletic endeavors on.

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We held off on eating anything before we got to Saratoga.  By the time we had showered, said goodbye to the girls and arrived at our breakfast destination it was close to 11 AM.  Hangry.  There was a reason behind this.  Our favorite spot is called Mimi’s. They serve breakfast until they close.  I had to share this picture.  We each ordered an appetizer for breakfast.  Who does that.  I had a biscuit and he had a grilled muffin.  My “entree” was not as large, but my husband went on to order the Georgia Southern French Toast with a side of sausage.  Um, look at those sausages.  Are we at a tailgate?  He almost finished the whole thing before the waitress said, “Wow, nobody finishes the french toast”.  I think she forgot he had an appetizer as well.

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We walked to the track from the breakfast restaurant (we needed it).  We spent the afternoon there before grabbing a few drinks and checking into our bed and breakfast.

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I stopped taking pictures at that point.  It’s okay.  Maybe things got a little blurry.  It was like pre-kids days.  We didn’t eat dinner until 9:00 PM and we stayed up past 10:00 PM.  We woke up the next day without an alarm, and we both decided not to do a workout.

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This is the second year that we have stayed at the Circular Manor Bed and Breakfast and it was just as good round two.  My husband’s mom and aunt drove up to Saratoga with the girls and met us at the track before I drove the girls back and hung out with his dad that afternoon.  He had knee surgery in July.  While he is usually more mobile, he was limited this year.  The girls were great about finding ways to be around him as much as possible.

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Saturday.  Our last full day of vacation. We did run in the morning.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at the track.  We saw the horse “Songbird” win the Alabama Stakes.  If you don’t know horse racing, know this:  she is the top three year old filly and is in contention for horse of the year.  She is undefeated. I don’t go to many big races, but this race was really cool to see.  We grabbed one last Italian meal on our way home before we had to start packing things up for our flight back home.

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Sunday was a long day.  We got delayed on our way out on Sunday.  After a 45 minute drive the airport, we got through security and waited another hour before boarding.  Once we got on the plane, the girls fell asleep for a little bit, before getting anxious.  Storms over Charlotte delayed our landing.  By the time we got our luggage and made it home, we had been traveling for 7 hours.  I hate to complain, but we are getting close to just packing the car up and driving.

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The time is worth it though.  I needed a vacation. My husband did too.  One in which we didn’t feel obligated to do much.  One in which we didn’t have anywhere we had to be.  Even when we go to the beach, we feel like we have to be out there as long as possible.  It’s getting easier every year.

 

 

 

 

 

Asheville Super Spartan Race Recap 2016

Let me take a deep breath.  I haven’t posted in awhile.  For various reasons. The summer has been busy.  I haven’t really had much to say.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone cared to hear what I was saying.  Clearly these are excuses.  In the moments leading up to and following last weekend’s Spartan Race in Asheville, NC, I felt so much support.  While I will likely never find myself on the podium in the elite section of a Spartan Race, I am not ashamed to put myself in contention with some of the best athletes in the world (and let the public see it).

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I had done several obstacle races before I actually began my Spartan journey in 2015.  The transition from full time, corporate America to a mom of two girls was very hard for me.  I spent all of college and my first few years in Charlotte building self efficacy through climbing up the corporate ladder and traveling all over the United States.  After the birth of my second child and when I ultimately left work full time, I almost had to find myself again.  I had to find a way to get a piece of me back from before I had kids.  That came in the spirit of competition through obstacle racing.

This year’s Asheville Super was and will be one of the hardest and most competitive races of the 2016 race series.  After competing in last year’s event, I thought I had my hands around any and everything that the course director might throw at us.  Boy was I wrong.  Last year’s course consisted of 8 miles over an 1,800 foot elevation climb.  I finished it in a mere 2 hours and 5 minutes.  This year’s course on the other hand was over 10 miles over a 3,000 foot elevation climb.  It took me exactly 3 hours.  Plenty of racers have gone on to to post images of the differences in elevation and difficulty year over year and it really is mind blowing.

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A lot of things have changed since last year.  The biggest being that Spartan will post the course map with obstacles prior to racers arriving on site the day of the race.  It’s interesting to me.  Last year we showed up the day of the race and crowded around the race map trying to see what was in store for us.  This year, Spartan posted the course map the day before the race giving us a chance to set a race plan over night.

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When I say set a race plan, I had time to determine where I would take fuel (as it relates to water stations), how fast I wanted to get out depending on the terrain and how I would tackle the ridiculous clumps of obstacles scattered around the start/finish line.

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Before heading out from Charlotte, we hit our favorite pre-race dinner spot, Roasting Company.  See picture above -pulled chicken with rice, squash casserole and stewed okra.  I eat a lot the night before a long race because I do not eat a lot before the actual race.

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Rather than stay at a ridiculously priced hotel (or even motel) in downtown Asheville, we found a bed and breakfast just outside of the town  and rented a room.  I used to have thousands of hotel and airline points, which made trips like this easy.  The transition to finding more creative places to stay has been interesting.  Needless to say, I absolutely loved The North Lodge on Oakland.  I enjoyed coffee in my room with a cookie before going to bed.  We didn’t hear a thing all night, and we both woke up feeling like we had slept in our own bed.  We will be back.  Next time for fun, not a race.

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We woke up Saturday at 5:00 AM.  I had a Luna Bar, a bite of bagel and a cup of water.  We were at the race location by 6:15 AM.  We checked in, warmed up and grabbed everything we needed to start.  Since it was an NBC sanctioned race, things moved a little slower loading the elites into the starting corral.  The top 10 elite racers were announced and allowed to run to the front of the line.

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After pre-race instructions and some “AROO’s” we were off.  We were fast.  I had no doubt that it would be that way.  After a short trail run, we hit the first obstacle.

Obstacle 1 – Over Walls – Jump over 2 four foot walls.  Easy.

After that, we found ourselves in the creek.  Everyone still had that beginning of race anxiety.  There were people literally flailing trying to find their footing and still move as fast as possible (including myself).

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After hitting mile 1, we made our way out of the creek only to hit obstacle number 2.

Obstacle 2 – Hurdles – These are beams suspended about 4 feet off the ground.  This obstacle is more difficult for shorter people like myself.  Two in a row and we were off into the woods.

Thick woods.  Hilly woods.  Extremely steep woods.  At one point they even had a rope suspended off the side of a steep cliff to guide individuals safely down.  I literally bear crawled on my hands and my knees up the steep ridges.  The terrain was rough and everyone was forced to slow down.  See picture below.

Obstacle 3 – 6 Foot Wall – As the name implies jump over a 6 foot wall.  These are easy at this point for me.  After jumping the wall, we proceeded through more thick terrain and mile marker two.

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Obstacle 4- Plate Drag – In the midst of the thick woods, was the plate drag (along with a water station).  Participants were asked to drag a weighted sled about 10 yards across a muddy path.  You then had to drag it back to start.  No problems here.

We ran quite a ways on more even and open terrain before we arrived at the next obstacle.

Obstacle 5 – Barbed Wire Crawl – This was much easier than prior races I have done.  The wire was higher than usual.  I could crawl without rolling.  The biggest issue was how ROCKY it was.  I think the majority of the cuts and bruises on my knees came from this obstacle. What looked like smooth mud was actually mirky water covering sharp rocks.  I was passed by two women here.

Obstacle 6 – Atlas Carry – Things were quite wet here.  I was smart about which line I chose to carry my atlas.  Racers are asked to pick up a stone that weighs over 50 pounds, carry it about 15 feet, put it down, do 5 burpees, pick it up and walk it back to start.  The last thing I wanted to do was drop my atlas into a muddy hole making it more difficult to pick back up.  I did my first set of burpees here – the 5 that are required to complete the obstacle.

From there we took another open terrain path back to the festival area where we hit several difficult obstacles in a row.

Obstacle 7 – 7 Foot Wall – This obstacle typically gives me no trouble.  That said, I ran at the wall on my first try only to miss and land back on my feet.  I got a great reaction from spectators.  My second try I used the kicker that the women are allowed to use and had no problem hoisting myself over.

Obstacle 8 – Z- Walls – This is one of my least favorite obstacles.  I just can’t figure it out. I looked at several different paths I could take before I opted on the first wall facing the crowd.  I made it half way across before I fell off trying to reach around the corner of a wall.  This was my first failed obstacle. Burpee count = 30.

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Obstacle 9 – Dunk Wall/Rolling Mud – I hope you aren’t afraid to get dirty.  Just a few yards away from completing my burpees, I dove right into the muddy water only to submerge my face under a wall and go through a series of muddy pits.

Obstacle 10 – Rope Climb – Wow.  All I can say is wow.  This obstacle singlehandly threw off the entire race for many elite runners.  The ropes were ridiculously slick because of the rain and mud from the night before.  Women were given two tries to get up while men only had one chance.  Good thing because my hands slid right down the first rope I tried before I moved to another rope with no problem.

I went on to learn that two top 10 finishers for the men were disqualified here for doing the same thing I did and not completing burpees.  That is huge for point standings and money.  As the day went on, this obstacle cleared up.

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Obstacle 11 – Spear Throw – Another one of my worst obstacles.  I have been practicing.  I wound up only to have the right distance and miss merely to the left.  Fail.  Burpee count – 60.

In a matter of a few feet, I had now done 60 burpees.  I was feeling gassed.  However, I had made up time on several women with my speed in burpees.  I was headed back into the woods feeling good about things.

Obstacle 12 – Memory Chart (omitted) – Elite are not required to perform this obstacle. 

We began our trek up the mountain on a gravel road.  The grade was not as steep as we had already seen.  I opted to follow a pattern of run 20 steps, walk 10 steps so that I would not wear myself out too soon.  It was during this time that I went back and forth with several women. One of whom actually offered me fuel as she consumed it up the hill.  Really, a very generous offer given the circumstances.

Obstacle 13 – 8 Foot Wall – At the clearing of the top of the hill was the tallest wall we would encounter the entire race.  I definitely had help from the kicker here.  We were off into the woods yet again from there.

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Yet another clearing and we were at Mile 4.  What?  We weren’t even half way and I felt like I had been put through the ringer already.

Obstacle 14 – A-Frame Cargo – At the quarry clearing was the A-Frame Cargo net.  I am definitely more cautious on this than most elite athletes. Take the path up the sides of the middle where it is tightest to the bar.  I made my way over before taking my only other fuel for the rest of the race as we hit the water station.

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Obstacle 15 – Bucket Carry – SUPRISE!  This was a “classified” on the obstacle map.  We had no idea what to expect.  What came next was one of the hardest parts of the entire race.  The fog covered the side of the mountain as we approached the start (and finish of the bucket carry).  Go ahead.  Load it up to the designated line.  Carry it up very muddy 45 degree incline hill.  Walk back down. Then walk back up without the bucket.  I NEVER put my bucket down.  I did several times in this instance.  I could barely take 10 steps without feeling like I needed to rest.  As I walked down the hill, I saw my husband for the first time.  I yelled at him.  SERIOUSLY?  He had already caught up to me even with a 15 minute head start?

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The picture below so accurately depicts the feeling that I experienced as I made my way back up that hill without the bucket.  It was BRUTAL.

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What came next was just plain mean.  We ran a little bit more.  I couldn’t tell you how much, but it wasn’t long.  Then I saw the monkey bars.  Soaking wet.  My forearms were still quivering from the carry and I literally looked at the guy beside and said, “Of course they would do the monkey bars after a heavy forearm carry.”

Obstacle 16 – Monkey Bars – I couldn’t find a path that wasn’t wet.  There were at least 15 people in the burpee zone already.  I went for it.  Again, an obstacle I never fail.  I made it three quarters of the way and fell.  I yelled an explicit word. I went to the burpee zone.  Burpee count = 90.

Obstacle 17 – Stairway to Sparta – Let’s climb/walk/jog.  I was exhausted going into the woods for the start of the climb up the backside of the mountain.  The Stairway of Sparta was fun last year because it was at the top of the mountain.  You grab the top of a 5 foot wall then climb up the 2×4’s of an A-frame.

Obstacle 18 – Sandbag Carry – When I got to the sandbag carry the bags were saturated and filled with wet sand.  They were heavier than usual.  They pointed us in the direction that we were to follow.  It was ridiculously steep and again muddy.  One girl ran by me and I never saw her again.  More power to her.  I set my bag down over and over and walked the entire way.  Going back up that hill, I didn’t know if I would make it. Every time I set my bag down and heaved it over my back I wished away the leaking sand that was falling out of the bag.

As I placed my bag down to finish the carry, I asked the volunteer if we were close to the top and she kind of laughed, kind of joked, then said we had another 1.7 miles to the top.  WHAT. I started walking.

I walked sideways 10 steps, switched sides, 50 steps forward, turned around.  Rested 10 seconds.  Passed a bunch of people.  Talked to a girl who was on the Spartan TV show.  I thought a lot about Flywheel. The people I train.  My husband.  I saw these mushrooms on the ground.  My one year old loves to try to pick mushrooms.  Every time I saw one, I thought of her.  Then I kept walking.  I had a lot of time to think as I walked by myself.

We reached a clearing that seemed like a down hill before we were forced back up hill.  I broke.  I bent over and I couldn’t breathe.  As I stood hunched over on the side of the mountain, my husband found me.  He inspired me.  He got me going.  It was in this moment that this race became more about us doing something together than me trying to beat the person in front of me.

Obstacle 19 – Vertical Cargo – We finally hit the downhill.  I’m talking a 1,000 foot drop over 1 mile.  He stayed with me.  He had decided to do the race because of me. He wasn’t really happy with where he was at.  He wanted to push me.  That he did. He helped me manage obstacles and terrain the rest of the way.  We cleared the vertical cargo no problem.

Obstacle 20 – I have no idea.  I still can’t figure it out.

Upon hitting the final clearing of the woods before the final set of obstacles, we were forced back in the creek.  My husband took the lead.  As I followed, in what seemed like slow motion, he slipped on a rock and landed flat on his back.  I thought it was all over. He told me to press on but how could I?  I stopped.  We slowed. We let people pass us.  We would finish this together.

Obstacle 21 – Barb Wire – Another easy obstacle.

Obstacle 22 – Slip Wall – As I approached the slip wall I told my husband I felt delirious, I felt weak.  He helped me figure out the best route to take up the wall.  We cleared it no problem.

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Obstacle 23 – Tyrolean Traverse – My first time.  LOVED it!  My husband went first and fast.  He prepped me up and yelled at me the entire way.  I opted to hand upside down and walk my opposite hand with opposite foot until I hit the bell.

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Obstacle 24 – Hercules Hoist – I feel ill saying this, but I FAILED.  My first time ever failing this obstacle.  I had literally given everything I had to this race.  When I went to pick the bag up I pulled it down and just had nothing left.  I went to the burpee zone.  Burpee count = 120.

Obstacle 25 – Bridge – Seriously?  Can I just be done.  Climb up a ladder, walk over, climb back down.  I am going through the motions at this point.  My husband, who finished the hercules hoist, went on to run through the finish line only to circle back up with me at the bottom of the bridge.

This picture.  Terrible.  I look awful.  I am sharing it because I feel it really shows what I felt in this moment.  Terrible.  Awful.  I am covered in grass.  Ashamed from the burpees I had just put myself through.  Over it.

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Obstacle 26 – Rig – Within 200 yards we were doing obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. The rig.  You know that circus looking thing.  Within 50 feet of the finish. I made it half way across.  I fell.  I failed.  My husband watched in shock as I walked to the burpee zone and did 30 more.  Burpee count = 150.

Obstacle 27 – Fire Jump – I had nothing left.  Maybe Spartan knew that.  They didn’t take my fire jump picture.  Thanks.  I’m sure it was awful too.  Thankfully, I have the one below.

Defeated. Yet not broken.  As we sped down the mountain together, we talked terribly about how hard this course was and how we would never do it again. Spartan had gone too far this time.  It is in the moments after that you truly appreciate what the human body is capable of. Regardless of what a picture looks like or what size you are, you feel incredibly satisfied with yourself.  You feel strong.  You feel confident.

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I had a team this year in the mountain with me.  I thought about them a lot.  I worried for them.  I felt their strength.  I am more proud of them than ever.  I underestimate their strength, and I am so proud that each and every one of them walked across the finish line. They are why I love doing what I do.

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