But they say a man should face his fears, and I find the best way for me to do that is to put it under race conditions. That way, I have a strong goal to keep me focused and push through.
The Spartan Sprint definitely did that. The website says that the average finish time is around 30 minutes, but I’m here to tell you this: They lie. It’s not 30 minutes. Oh sure, it’s 3 miles. Oh sure, it’s some running. And, sure, I could run 3 miles in 30 minutes except for one minor thing.
Hills. Lots of hills. And then there are the obstacles and burpees. See, if you can’t complete an obstacle, you have to do 30 burpees. Thirty. That’s a lot to do, and it’s even harder when you just struggled to the top of a hill and can barely breathe.
Fortunately for me, I only had to do burpees twice – one at the hanging wall, and once on the spear toss (I missed the target, darn it!).
Spartan Sprint Malibu was composed of cold, water, mud, blood, more mud, barbed wire, rocks, walls, tires, spears, monkey bars, more rocks, swimming (in cold, cold water), beer, fire, more walls, buckets with cement and walls with blocks. Oh, and burpees. Did I mention burpees?
(For those non-cross-fit types, burpees are pushups with a hop – look it up. I called them “Prison Cell Pushups”. Good full-body workout).
In any case, although results aren’t available yet, I think I did fairly well (at the time of my finish, I was 61/374 in my Age Group). However, my time was a bit longer because a good portion of the race was over single track trails, which, due to the crowds, forced me to take a slower pace than I was capable. That, however, may have benefited me in the end with my final burpees (my spear failed to find the mark).
It also helped when I hit the barbed-wire crawl. It was a lot longer than I expected, and it was the only part of the course where I drew blood. Despite rolling, and crawling, and trying to avoid injury, the rocks, rather than the wire, managed to cut my skin. My legs still itch, actually.
Was it hard? Yes and no.
Who did better, the Cross-Fitter or the endurance athlete? I would actually vote for the endurance athlete, as most of the obstacles weren’t that hard, but the strong hills and the various running gave an advantage to those Ultra-Trail Runners. My heart rate did get up to in Zone 4 and stay there for the entire 56 minutes, but I was able to pass quite a few CrossFitters on the run. Not so much on the obstacles, though.
However, whether CrossFit, Runner, or a person who just loves a fun challenge – Spartan Race is the place to be. It will get your heart rate up!