The Spartan Sprint was held in Boise over the weekend. Red Rush Quality Assurance Biologist Phil Jermann (right) and myself (Red Rush Copywriter Josh Peterson) competed. It was the first time either of us participated in a Spartan Race. And outside, maybe, a singular charity run/walk that I moseyed through, it was the first time I had entered a proper race. That’s not to say that I went into the race with any dim, flickering notion that I would win, place or even be competitive. I went into the race just hoping to survive the thing.
1. It’s Highly Survivable.
Although quite nervous at the starting line, at less than a mile in, I began to feel pretty confident that this thing wasn’t going to kill me. I did try and break my ankle a couple of times. I accredit my continued existence to that fact that I’ve been doing CrossFit for about nine or ten months now. I’m still not in Herculean shape but turns out, I’m fairly well conditioned thanks to all those terrible burpees and wall balls.
In fact, there were people who looked like they were in better physical shape than me who were in worse actual shape than me at least temporarily. One six-pack-ab guy lost his lunch climbing a hill.
2. The Hills Were the Hardest Part
To six-pack-ab guy’s credit, the hills were the worst part. They were dusty, steep-graded beasts best climbed on all fours or not at all. Unlike the monkey bars or the wall-climb, you can’t do burpees if you can’t make it up the hills. If you fail the hills, you fail the race. Speaking of burpees…
3 Spartan Racers Don’t Burpee Right
I’ve been taught that when you do a burpee, you put your chest to the ground and then stand up and jump. I saw several very loose interpretations of burpees. The worst offender was this one lady whose body never touched the ground. She simply started in a plank then jumped into a v-shaped plank and repeated that weird movement thirty times. That’s not a burpee. That’s nothing.
4. Wear Sunscreen and Clothes that Don’t Hold Moisture
The dumbest thing that I did all day was not wear sunscreen. My face currently looks like an old, dusty catcher’s mitt. However, being covered in mud for nearly the entire race probably reduced the severity of the burns.
Also, as soon I hit the first water obstacle my clothes soaked up the moisture like a sponge, weighing me down. Failed the rope climb because the water made me heavier. Phil’s shoes bothered him some due to the water.
5. The Dreaded Spear Throw and Other Obstacles
Back to back, Phil and I aced the spear throw, giving us a boost of confidence. Neither of us had to do burpees until we reached an obstacle where you have to climb a pipe then swing on a rope, swing to another rope and then grab another pipe.
I was way too tall for the obstacle and my legs ended up catching the ground, knocking me into the grass. Then I fell off a wall crawl obstacle and then I failed the rope climb. They were almost all back-to-back and I had to do ninety burpees in the cocklebur-filled grass. I am pleased to say, I passed the monkey bars later in the race, remembering to keep my legs bent so they wouldn’t brush the ground.
My favorite obstacles were the ones where you had to carry something heavy for a little while. I’m a large man, so these made me feel pretty good about myself. Overall, I really liked Spartan racing and plan to run more.
6. Red Rush Is a Great Pre-Workout
Of course, Phil and I both used Red Rush before the event. I barely felt any fatigue throughout the race and little soreness the next day.
Phil said that he “pumped two Red Rush the day before the race and two the day of. Basically, it gave me the second wind at the three mile mark and left me feeling pretty good near the end.”